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No excuses as Froome loses grip on the yellow jersey

 

By Ian Parker

Chris Froome surrendered the yellow jersey to Fabio Aru as Romain Bardet won stage 12 of the Tour de France in Peyragudes.

Three-time Tour winner Froome faded badly on the brutal final climb of the 214.5km stage from Pau while Aru finished third to take the final bonus seconds on offer.

The Italian national champion now leads the Tour by six seconds from Froome, with Frenchman Bardet closing to within 25 seconds of yellow in third.

Astana's Aru will wear the yellow jersey for the first time in his career, while Froome has handed it over for the second time in his, having also lost it after stage four in 2015 before reclaiming it three days later and carrying it to Paris.

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

"It was a tough day for me in the final metres and my team-mates had done such an amazing job," he said. "But I didn't have the legs to finish it off, it's as simple as that. No excuses. I just didn't have the legs on the final kick."

Aru said of taking yellow: "It's the biggest thing that could happen to me. I never imagined it could happen. The stage was very, very hard and I'm very pleased to wear this jersey for my team-mates."

Keeping it will not be easy. Today's 101km stage from Saint-Girons to Foix is expected to be a full-on battle.

Belfast Telegraph

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