Barguil delivers Bastille Day win to France; Aru still leads

2017 Tour de France: Red-hot Marcel Kittel claims fifth Tour de France stage win

Chris Froome remains in contention for a fourth Tour de France title after Team Sky put the pressure on their rivals with a perfectly executed plan in Friday's 13th stage, won on Bastille Day by France's Warren Barguil.

Italian Fabri Aru claimed the yellow jersey for the overall lead in the Tour de France on Thursday after Frenchman Romain Bardet won Stage 12 in Peyragudes.

With the top four watching each other closely, Irishman Dan Martin slipped away and was soon followed by Simon Yates in the young riders' white jersey, and the pair picked up nine seconds by the finish line.

Mikel Landa was sent up the road in an early breakaway and was eventually joined by Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

"We've got a lot of faith in Mikel and we showed that today", Froome added.

Froome finally completed the stage in seventh place, 22 seconds down on stage victor Bardet. However, as Team Sky increased the pace strongly led by Michal Kwiatkowski and Vasili Kiryienka and the gradients increased even further, the gap was minimized. For the second day in a row, he finished ahead of Team Sky leader Froome.

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Aru, victor of the Vuelta a Espana in 2015, now leads the GC by six seconds from Froome, with Bardet 25 seconds off the lead in third. The race started with a 14 km trial in Dusseldorf and the city also hosted the stage two of the tournament. Chris Froome lost the yellow jersey after his teammate, Landa, left his team leader to struggle up the steep ramp to Peyragudes on Wednesday.

Aru had been isolated throughout nearly the entire stage, but was able to rely on help from other teams whose general classification positions were threatened by Contador, Landa and Quintana gaining time.

Had the general classification contenders possessed sufficient courage to attack Froome sooner in today's stage, Froome would likely have lost significant time in today's stage.

"Hopefully, seeing Froome crack will give them more confidence to attack", said LeMond.

It'll be interesting to see if Froome can bounce back from faltering on Thursday, and try to work towards regaining the Yellow Jersey that he held for so long. With three Pyrenees climbs, it delivered exactly what Tour organizers were hoping for: Full-on racing, with the French victory as the cherry on top.

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