The Australian went into the Giro's 14th stage 41 seconds in arrears of Nibali but the tough conditions of the last few days along with a late surge from the maglia rosa contributed in Evans losing more time than he would have hoped on his rival.
Nibali attacked with two kilometres remaining on the Jafferau, with the stage's planned previous climb to Sestriere removed by race organisers due to the appalling weather conditions. The stage winner Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), a former teammate of Evans, was the only one who could go with Nibali who allowed himself to be paced up to the welcome finish knowing a handy 12-second time bonus was in the offing for his second place. Evans crossed the finish line in 6th place
"It was not my best day," Evans said on the team website. "Conceding time to the other GC contenders is certainly not what I wanted. I just couldn't react when the attack from Nibali came. I think that has something to do with the last couple of days. I hope this is my worst day in the mountains; otherwise to fight for the win will be difficult."
Third place overall, Rigoberto Uran (Sky) also gained three seconds on Evans courtesy of this fifth placing on the stage.
The first major climb of the day, the Sestriere may have been removed but difficulties remained for the peloton with low visability and cold, wet conditions throughout the stage.
"For everyone, it was a really hard day," Evans said. "But everybody on the team, from mechanics and staff to the riders – put in everything. You can't ask anything more than that."
Evans heads into Sunday's Stage 15 second overall, 1:26 down on Nibali, with Uran 1:20 further in arrears.