Aru claims yellow jersey at Tour de France, Bardet wins stage

Aru claims yellow jersey at Tour de France, Bardet wins stage

Aru claims yellow jersey at Tour de France, Bardet wins stage

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.

Aru's team-mate Jakob Fuglsang, who sits fifth overall in the general classification, suffered fractures in his hand and elbow in a crash which ended the race of key domestique Dario Cataldo.

Froome zig-zagged his bike across the tarmac as he tried to cope with a gradient so steep that it seemed to glue his wheels to the road.

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

Fabio Aru is the new race leader after he finished second to Bardet following a brutal double climb to the finish line at the airstrip of Peyragudes in the Pyrenees following an absorbing 214.5km stage from Pau.

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Colombia's Rigoberto Uran continued his renaissance to end as the runner-up at two seconds back, alongside Aru.

But that came in very different circumstances, and Froome cut a dejected figure outside the Team Sky bus on Thursday evening.

Bidding to become the first Frenchman to win the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985, Bardet was the strongest in the brutal incline and described his third stage win on the Tour as "an vast joy".

"It won't be easy to defend - we'll do the best we can", Aru said. However, the Colombian is still 55sec off the lead, as he was at the start of the day, after being penalised 20sec for illegally taking a water bottle from his team in the final 10km.

The Colombian Nairo Quintana, he has been distanced from the slopes of the Peyresourde. A 12-man breakaway was allowed a lead of more than six minutes at one stage and by the time they reached the top of the Porte de Bales hors category climb 40km from the finish, Briton Stephen Cummings was on his own with a lead of around a minute and half from the Sky led peloton. Quintana was next to go amongst the favourites with Spanish two-time former victor Alberto Contador also wilting with just over 5km left.

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