Dennis has repeatedly said that he is using the 2018 Giro to test his limits in terms of being competitive in the overall classification of Grand Tours, and, although no longer in the lead, given his all-round performance on Thursday, he was upbeat about continuing to do that long-term.
The two riders had broken from the leading pack at 10 kilometers from the finish.
Dennis (BMC Racing) is 53 seconds behind Yates, who won the young rider classification at last year's Tour de France and becomes the fourth Briton to wear the pink jersey after Mark Cavendish, Sir Bradley Wiggins and David Millar. Keeping you up to date about what is happening in Colombia is costly and not without risk.
Simon Yates produced a blistering ride to seize the initiative in the sixth stage of Giro d'Italia and storm into a 16-second lead.
There was suspense all the way as both Mitchelton riders approached the finish line, but in the end Yates sat up to allow Chaves to savour the stage victory.
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He employed interesting tactics to claim the win, preferring to eschew his leadout riders for a spot on the wheel of big favourite, and two-time stage victor already, Elia Viviani. Bennett's power and timing saw him snatch it while Britain's Simon Yates holds onto first place in the overall standings.
With Chaves confidently ahead on his own, Yates bided his time amid a series of further skirmishes before pulling away in commanding fashion to join the Colombian in the final kilometre.
With two mountain stages to come at the weekend, Yates's domestiques were given a relatively easy day as the sprinters' teams took responsibility for controlling the gap to the break as Quick-Step Floors and Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia dominated the front of the bunch. I really want to thank the whole team they have got to this point.
Esteban Chaves is third, a further 10 seconds adrift, with Chris Froome a minute and 10 seconds behind Yates after a hard start to his bid for a third consecutive Grand Tour title.