Fabio Aru Takes the Tour's Yellow Jersey

Fabio Aru Takes the Tour's Yellow Jersey”

The final of the six ascents on the menu of the 214.5km stage between Pau and the ski station was too hard for Froome, who had worn the yellow jersey over the previous seven stages. Aru now leads by six seconds from Froome with Bardet 25 seconds off the lead going into Friday's potentially explosive 101 kilometre dash from Saint-Girons to Foix.

The Team Dimension Data rider had been part of a 12-man break which went away early on the stage, and the two-time Tour stage victor attacked solo on the climb of the Port de Bales.

Fabio Aru used the steep gradients of the Peyragudes airstrip as a launchpad to the yellow jersey as Chris Froome lost the lead in the Tour de France. "No excuses. I just didn't have the legs on the final kick". Romain went in the best moment possible, I tried to attack and then suffered a bit.

Ireland's Dan Martin was right in contention for stage victory but couldn't stick with the leaders' final push, and finished in a battling sixth, 13 seconds back.

"It's one of the most handsome things that can happen to you in life, wearing the yellow jersey", said Aru, who rides for the Astana team.

Romain Bardet of France pulls away from Fabio Aru and Rigoberto Uran to win stage 12 of the Tour de France
BENOIT TESSIER REUTERS Romain Bardet of France pulls away from Fabio Aru and Rigoberto Uran to win stage 12 of the Tour de France

Frenchman Bardet of Ag2R-La Mondiale won the punchy uphill sprint to secure a third stage win for the host nation ahead of resurgent Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac).

Cummings held a gap of two minutes over the summit of the climb - and was given a lifeline when Froome and Aru overcooked a bend at the start of the penultimate climb and were forced into a grass verge. LeMond added that Bardet and Aru should pile the pressure on Froome and not hesitate to play mind games as the three-time champion is still the favorite.

"Today was a chance, I just needed the right combination", the 36-year-old said. It is the first time an Italian is in yellow since Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour in 2014. The breakaway group split up as Stephen Cummings launched a solo offensive.

The Colombian Nairo Quintana, he has been distanced from the slopes of the Peyresourde.

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