Aru pounces while Froome falters

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

PEYRAGUDES, France: French­man Ro­main Bardet timed his fi­nal ef­fort per­fectly to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France yes­ter­day, set­ting up a thrilling sec­ond half of the three-week race as de­fend­ing cham­pion Chris Froome showed a rare sign of weak­ness.

Ital­ian Fabio Aru claimed the over­all leader’s yel­low jersey as pre­vi­ous leader Froome could not sus­tain the pace in the fi­nal few hun­dred me­tres up a steep climb to the fin­ish line.

As­tana rider Aru at­tacked in the fi­nal part of the climb to Peyragudes, a 2.4-km as­cent at a pun­ish­ing av­er­age gra­di­ent of 8.4 per­cent. But Bardet had more left in the tank and pow­ered away in the last 200 me­tres to beat Colom­bian Rigob­erto Uran by two sec­onds.

Aru came third, also two sec­onds be­hind Bardet, while Froome cracked and ended up 22 sec­onds adrift of the French­man.

Over­all, Aru leads Froome by six sec­onds and Bardet by 25.

“It’s a great joy. I had good legs but I was pa­tient,” said AG2R-La Mon­di­ale rider Bardet.

“The team has never been so strong, we are a real fac­tor in the race. Now we have to do our best in the fi­nal part.”

Froome and Aru went off the road briefly in the de­scent from the Port de Bales, the penul­ti­mate climb of the day, but the group of over­all con­tenders waited on them.

They caught the last sur­vivor of the day’s break­away, Bri­ton Stephen Cum­mings, 8.5km from the fin­ish, in the fi­nal slopes of the Col de Peyre­sourde.

Nairo Quin­tana had al­ready been dropped, as the Colom­bian strug­gles to re­cover from an en­ergy-sap­ping Giro d’Italia.

He and two-time cham­pion Con­ta­dor, who was dropped in the fi­nale, saw their hopes of win­ning the race all but van­ish.

OVER THE HILL, AND NOT SO FAR AWAY: Ro­main Bardet of France sprints to­wards the line to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France yes­ter­day. He timed his break to per­fec­tion to win by two sec­onds.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.