Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Bold Bardet wins stage as Froome surrenders yellow to Aru

Michael Matthews Michael Matthews
Johnnie Parks | 15 July, 2017, 04:54

France's Warren Barguil won stage 13 of the Tour de France, becoming the first Frenchman to triumph on Bastille Day in 12 years.

Just 1-09 now separate the top five riders overall - Aru, Froome, Romain Bardet, Rigoberto Uran and Landa - with the final two major mountain stages coming next week in the Alps.

Landa's long-distance move, made together with Spanish double Tour victor Alberto Contador and later with France's Warren Barguil and Colombian Nairo Quintana, gained almost three minutes at one point, which would have put the Sky rider into the yellow jersey. In addition to the stage win, he's got a comfortable lead in the KOM competition with all the points he soaked up today.

"We've got a lot of faith in Mikel and we showed that today", Froome added.

But Landa's contract could mean he has to help Froome, who was in a similar position in 2012 when he seemed stronger in the mountains than Sky team mate and eventual champion Bradley Wiggins, all the way to Paris.

The Italian is now six seconds clear of Froome, with Bardet third and a further 19 seconds back as the race was blown wide open.

Landa would end 2sec behind the victor in fourth.

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Quintana zoomed over the line in second place, failing to catch Barguil with his final sprint, with Contador third.

By stark contrast it was a miserable day for Astana's Jakob Fuglsang, who withdrew from the race with a fractures to his wrist and elbow he suffered on Stage 11.

Vinokourov, though, said this stage was significant, not least because Froome has often excelled in the Pyrenees in the past.

It was a first career Tour stage win for Barguil, who has been out of form after he was one of six members of his team struck by a auto during a training ride in January 2016.

"Yesterday was a hard day for me but today I felt a lot better and we played a good game strategically", Froome told French television. For some reason, Landa followed instead of waiting with Froome, perhaps in an effort to maintain his top-10 place or steal away bonus seconds, and Froome's younger rivals achieved a gap.

Aru defended himself and his Astana squad afterwards by saying that he could not chase down all the attackers like Landa. He has won three Tours.

Sky's strength on general classification gives them options should Froome have a bad day.

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