Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma completed the podium on the 178km fifth stage in Recanati.
Yates continues to hold a lead of 25 seconds over Roglic in second place.
Yates extended his race lead after an attacking display on another punishing day of climbing.
Jakob Fuglsang shows climbing class to win stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico
The 26-year-old’s advantage at the top of the general classification now sits at 25 seconds with two stages remaining in Italy.
“I got a little bit of time, but ideally Fuglsang wouldn’t have been in front and I could have won the stage, but again the strongest guy won today," said Yates.
“I did what I could on the final climb to drop Roglic and I gained some seconds, I did my best.”
In the back of my head I would have liked 45 seconds just to be safe, I’m not sure how much time he [Roglic] look out of me last year, but I think he was top 10 (in the time trial.
“But we’ll see, I’ll just do my best and where I end up, I end up. It’s not a TT course that suits me, but I’ll try my best and hopefully it’s enough.”
With a potentially decisive stage on the cards, 13 riders were allowed to establish the break and they opened up a maximum advantage of over nine minutes before Australian Michael Hepburn came to the head of the peloton.
An injection of pace in the bunch saw the gap fall rapidly and as the race passed through the finishing line for the first of three finishing loops, the gap was down to just over four minutes.
The breakaway was reduced to four riders over the first lap of the finishing circuit, while Astana Pro Team were driving the pace in the bunch behind.
Riders were quickly being shelled out of the reduced peloton and a select group was formed on lap two, with Yates at the fore of the pack.
Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) made his move out of the group of favourites as the race approached the final lap, attacking on the climb and opening up a gap of around one minute.
With the gap starting to look dangerous for the overall, Yates attacked with 11km to go and initially distanced rival Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma). However, with the danger of Fuglsang out front, the pair joined forces in an attempt to bring back the Astana Pro Team rider.
That alliance lasted until two kilometres to go when Yates dropped Roglic on the steep slopes to the finish. The move wasn’t enough to catch Fuglsang who took the stage win, with Yates taking second and increasing his overall lead to 25 seconds over Roglic.
Stage 5 Colli al Metauro to Recanati, 180 km.
Men's elite road race.
- Stage winners
- 1. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana Pro Team 4:39:32
- 2. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton - Scott +40
- 3. Primož Roglic (SLO) Team Jumbo - Visma +56
- 4. Tom Dumoulin (NED) Team Sunweb +1:39
- 5. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) Groupama - FDJ +1:53
- 6. Wout Poels (NED) Team Sky +1:57
- 7. Mads Pedersen (DEN) Trek - Segafredo +2:09
- 8. Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale +2:12
- 9. Tiesj Benoot (BEL) Lotto - Soudal "
- 10. Simon Clarke (AUS) EF Education First "
- 1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton - Scott 20:33:48
- 2. Primož Roglic (SLO) Team Jumbo - Visma +25
- 3. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana Pro Team +35
- 4. Tom Dumoulin (NED) Team Sunweb +1:55
- 5. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Deceuninck - Quick-Step +2:34
- 6. Wout Poels (NED) Team Sky +2:39
- 7. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) Groupama - FDJ +2:46
- 8. Sam Oomen (NED) Team Sunweb +2:58
- 9. Simon Clarke (AUS) EF Education First +3:03
- 10. Rui Costa (POR) UAE Team Emirates +3:26