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George Bennett climbs into ninth, Chris Froome loses Tour de France lead

15 July 2017

Always easily sticking to the small little attacks near the end, easily mastering the downhill sections and powering his way over the line as if he just did another Sunday morning practice circuit. He was hoping that him following me would make me not want to go in the breakaway but it made me want to go in it more.

A near-perfect day in the saddle also saw Barguil extend his lead in the polka dot mountain classification, in which he now leads Landa by 61 points.

The Tour de France received a much-needed jolt in the closing meters of Stage 12 when Mikel Landa abandoned his captain, Chris Froome crumbled, and Fabio Aru took the yellow jersey from the three-time Tour victor.

The top four in the general classification had crossed the line together in the third group on the road, keeping Aru six seconds clear of Froome, with Frenchman Romain Bardet of AG2R La Mondiale 25 seconds down in third and Colombian Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale-Drapac fourth at 35 seconds. Bardet may have started the race with an unimpressive 63rd place in the ITT, but soon jumped to 7th overall after Stage 5.

Froome was gracious in defeat, congratulating both Bardet and Aru, but he showed the steely determination that has helped him to win three Tours already.

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Ireland's Dan Martin was right in contention for stage victory but couldn't stick with the leaders' final push, and finished in a battling sixth, 13 seconds back. Whereas Chris Froome retained the overall lead.

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"Let's be wary of Team Sky".

After a frenetic start, Contador and Mikel Landa put distance between themselves and the chasing pack, the Spaniard the first man up the second of three category-one climbs.

Contador's move with 70km to ride was marked by Landa while Quintana, less than 10km later, brought along Barguil.

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Sky stepped up the tempo in the first really hard ascent, the Col de Mente, where Spanish great Luis Ocana crashed out in a downhill section in 1971 while wearing the yellow jersey.

Quintana and Kwiatkowski soon joined forces with Barguil and the trio crested the summit within touching distance of the leaders.

On Thursday, that tried and trusted strategy never got going, and he surrendered the overall race lead to Fabio Aru.

"I can only say congratulations to [France's] Romain Bardet for winning the stage and also to Fabio Aru for taking the yellow jersey".

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George Bennett climbs into ninth, Chris Froome loses Tour de France lead