Froome loses yellow jersey, Bardet wins stage

Aru won stage five of the Tour to La Planche des Belles Filles with a well-timed attack, pulling back 20 seconds on Froome in the process, but the three-time Tour victor said he would not make the same mistake twice.

But for Froome, the day's good work was undone in the space of a few hundred metres as he finished seventh, 20 seconds behind Aru, surrendering his general classification lead and the yellow jersey to his Italian rival.

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

The French Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) proved to be the strongest, Thursday, on the airfield of Peyragudes to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France. "I didn't have the legs", he said. "My teammates did such an wonderful job but I didn't have the legs at the end to finish it off".

Froome's cause wasn't helped when he briefly followed Mikel Nieve off the road into some spectators trying to eat some food after they misjudged a corner.

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.

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"I knew it could suit me", he said. "I was missing the yellow jersey after wearing the pink one at the Giro d'Italia and the red one on the Vuelta".

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. The Team Sky rider has never not been in the yellow jersey this late in any of the three Tours he won. 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.

The twisting and punishing Port de Bales, a narrow, 11.7km climb at an average gradient of 7.7 per cent - rated as "beyond a category" because of its difficulty - took a heavy toll on the lead riders.

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.

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

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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