Reigning champion Chris Froome has lost the yellow jersey following stage 12 of the Tour de France. Romain Bardet won the mountainous stage from Pau to Peyragudes
France's Romain Bardet has won stage 12 of the 2017 Tour de France, ahead of Rigoberto Uran of Colombia and the Italian mountain specialist Fabio Aru. It's the Frenchman's first ever stage win and comes on the eve of Bastille Day.
Reigning champion Chris Froome, who held an 18-second lead over Aru in the general classification (GC), lost 22 seconds on the first Pyrenees stage from Pau to Peyragudes, and with them the yellow jersey to the Italian.
In the battle for green jersey, German sprinter Marcel Kittel is 130 points ahead of Australian rival Michael Matthews.
In the Pyrenees fog on the 214.5km stage, Froome and Aru almost ran into disaster. Descending at speed from the Porte de Bales, 12 km from the finish, they missed a turn and almost crashed into caravans belonging to spectators which were parked along the road. But disaster was avoided and, after a short pause, they continued towards the final ascent.
It was here on the final 2.4km climb to Peyragudes that the Astana rider attacked and left Froome in his wake. But even the Italian couldn't match the pace of Bardet and the Frenchman battled his way to a two-second win over Uran.
Bardet's victory puts him third in the GC and rekindles local hopes of a first French victory since Bernhard Hinault in 1985.
Thursday also marked the 50th anniversary of one of the Tour's greatest tragedies - the death of British cyclist Tom Simpson on nearby Mont Ventoux on 13 Juli 1967. A small memorial now stands on the spot where Simpson fell from his bike, his body overwhelmed by amphetamines and alcohol in the glaring heat. His death lead to the introduction of doping controls.
mf/ft (SID, AP)