Fabio Aru wins Tour fifth stage, Froome takes yel­low

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Fabio Aru em­u­lated com­pa­triot Vin­cenzo Nibali in winning the fifth stage of the Tour de France yes­ter­day as reign­ing cham­pion Chris Froome took over the race lead. Ital­ian Aru won the 160.5km stage that fin­ished on the La Planche des Belles Filles climb, where Nibali won three years ago be­fore go­ing on to claim Tour vic­tory.

Froome came home third be­hind Ire­land’s Dan Martin in sec­ond, and took over the yel­low jer­sey from Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas. Aru launced his at­tack with 2.4km left and fin­ished 16 sec­onds clear of Martin. With a 10-sec­ond time bonus on the line, he moved up to third over­all, at just 14 sec­onds be­hind Froome.

But more im­por­tantly, the 2015 Vuelta a Es­pana win­ner made a state­ment that he is a gen­uine chal­lenger to end Froome’s Tour reign. Hav­ing pre­vi­ously won stages at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta, this com­pleted a Grand Tour stage sweep for Aru.

“First of all I’m go­ing to en­joy this mo­ment be­cause I had a great spring and won the Ital­ian ti­tle but be­fore that I had a tough time,” said Aru, who had to pull out of May’s Giro due to in­jury. “It’s a dif­fi­cult race and the op­po­si­tion is very tough. I’d pre­fer to take it day by day be­cause I didn’t ex­pect to com­pete at the Tour.

“My goal was the Giro but un­for­tu­nately I was in­jured.” Bri­ton Froome came home 20 sec­onds be­hind the win­ner, with Aus­tralia’s Richie Porte just be­hind him, but Colom­bian Nairo Quin­tana strug­gled and lost 14 sec­onds to Froome.

“It’s amaz­ing for me to be back in yel­low but hav­ing said that the race is far from over,” warned Froome. “(Aru) showed al­ready in the (Cri­terium du) Dauphine he was in great form, to­day he just con­firmed that. “Fabio’s go­ing to have to be one of the guys we keep an eye on in the next cou­ple of weeks.” Last year’s run­ner up, Ro­main Bardet came home fifth at 24sec be­hind Aru, to now sit sev­enth over­all at 47sec.

Thomas, who started the day 12 sec­onds clear, dropped to sec­ond at 12sec be­hind his team leader. But at the end of the first moun­tain sum­mit fin­ish of this year’s race, the over­all stand­ings took on a fa­mil­iar look as the over­all con­tenders flexed their mus­cles for the first time.

The top 10 are now sep­a­rated by one minute with all the big guns in there, in­clud­ing two-time former win­ner Al­berto Con­ta­dor, now eighth at 52sec. Porte moved up to fifth at 39sec, with Quin­tana ninth at 54sec.— AFP

VIT­TEL: Italy’s Fabio Aru cel­e­brates his polka dot jer­sey of best clim­ber on the podium at the end of the 160.5 km fifth stage of the 104th edi­tion of the Tour de France cy­cling race yes­ter­day be­tween Vit­tel and La Planche des Belles Filles. — AFP

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