Monday, 25 September, 2017

Bardet wins 12th stage, Aru takes overall lead

Warren Barguil of France wearing the best climber’s dotted jersey celebrates winning the 13th stage of the Tour de France on Friday in Foix France Bardet wins 12th stage, Aru takes overall lead
Kayla Schwartz | 14 July, 2017, 08:10

The Tour de France is the world's biggest and most iconic cycling race.

Aru's teammate Jakob Fuglsang, who broke two bones in a crash during Wednesday's stage, struggled at the back and dropped out of contention after starting the day in fifth place overall. Don't expect them to make the same mistake on Stage 13.

German sprinter Marcel Kittel steered clear of trouble and claimed the stage in a sprint finish, taking his tally to five stage wins since the race started.

The star of the day, however, might be 26-year-old Frenchman Romain Bardet, who took off like a lightning bolt up the last climb to win his third mountain stage in three consecutive Tour de France races. He now sits just 25 seconds behind the new leader, Fabio Aru (Astana). "Sky kept the gap too small, but once you commit, you commit and in the end I didn't have the legs", the Wirral-born rider said. Fabio Aru (Italy / Astana Pro Team) 4.

Bardet said the disappointment from Sunday's near-miss fueled him during Thursday's stage.

"My teammates did such an wonderful job", Froome said. "Everything was good on our side". Froome, therefore, had to hand over the yellow race leader's jersey to Aru. The dauphin Froome in 2013 and 2015 is now clocked in at over four minutes in the general classification. They'll need to, and if nothing else, the extremely tight GC race means that the final three mountain stages will be entertaining as hell.

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Froome finished a lowly seventh, 22 seconds behind Bardet.

Team Sky had held the yellow jersey since Geraint Thomas' time trial win in Dusseldorf on the opening day. "Tomorrow's stage may be harder than today".

Froome and Team Sky appeared to be in position to neutralize their rivals.

"He's never shy to attack from far out". His surprising breakdown threw the general classification wide open, with plenty of climbing still to come.

Bardet has now won stages in three consecutive Tours de France. This is no catastrophe on the scale of, say, 2014, when Froome crashed out of the Tour injured in the first week. "It could have been worse with all the wind". They are proud and they will focus on getting the lead back.

Martin began the final finishing moves, making an acceleration with roughly 500 meters to go. But despite looking for the best possible aerodynamics position in the downhill section leading to Pau, he was swallowed up with just 250 meters left. "I don't know, I'm not doing anything special", he said. "This time, the sprinters won".

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