Overnight leader Simon Yates had to hand over the Giro pink jersey to Chris Froome after stage 19 on Friday. Photo: Daniel Dal Zennaro/EPA

BARDONECCHIA – Britain's Chris Froome, of Team Sky, re-launched his bid for a maiden Giro d'Italia triumph Friday by soloing to victory, and the pink jersey, on a dramatic 19th stage that proved disastrous for overnight leader Simon Yates.

Yates (Mitchelton) started the 184km ride from Venaria Reale to Bardonecchia in the Italian Alps with a 3min 22sec lead on Froome.

But on the penultimate day in the mountains, his 13th wearing the leader's pink jersey, the Englishman suffered a stunning collapse on the notoriously difficult Colle delle Finestre that prompted Froome to attack with over 80km remaining.

Thanks to a distinct lack of collaboration in the four-man chase group behind him, Froome was able to steadily increase his lead over the rolling terrain leading towards Sestriere.

Riders at the start of the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia - Venaria Reale to Bardonecchia on Friday. Photo: Alessandro Di Marco/EPA

After producing a solo performance that rekindled memories of Belgian great Eddy Merckx, four-time Tour de France winner Froome completed nearly five and a half hours on the bike by soloing over the line in triumph to take a grip on the race with only two stages remaining.

Froome now leads the Netherlands' defending champion Tom Dumoulin by 40secs in the overall standings, setting up a possible duel on the final day in the mountains on Saturday when the peloton takes in the 214km-long 20th stage from Susa to the Cervinia glacer.

Sitting among a four-man chasing group, France's Thibaut Pinot and Dumoulin led a futile pursuit of Froome that saw the quartet finish over three minutes in arrears to the Briton.

Pinot is third overall but is 4:17 behind Froome.