Chris Froome loses Tour de France lead in Stage 12

  • Chris Froome loses Tour de France lead in Stage 12

Chris Froome loses Tour de France lead in Stage 12

With Froome toiling home 22 seconds down in seventh place, Aru - victor of Stage 5 at La Planche des Belles Filles - overturned his 18-second deficit to move four seconds ahead of Sky's triple Tour champion. "I never imagined it could happen". They are proud and they will focus on getting the lead back.

"We won't be holding anything back on a stage like (Thursday's) but at the back of our minds we will be thinking about the following day", Froome said.

"It's a good sign (that the Tour is not over yet) but it was just two hundred metres and I would not think too much about it", LeMond, who is on the Tour as an analyst for Eurosport, said in his daily chat with Reuters on Thursday.

The final of the six ascents on the menu of the 214.5km stage between Pau and the ski station was too hard for Froome, who had worn the yellow jersey over the previous seven stages.

Bardet used a well-timed surge to claim the stage, while Froome finished 22 seconds behind him to end up in seventh place.

Friday, the 13th step compact difficulties by 101 kilometres between Saint-Girons and Foix.

"Despite their injuries, my team-mates will be on my side to defend the yellow jersey, I'll start tomorrow's stage with the same serenity I had those past few days".

Romain Bardet of France pulls away from Fabio Aru and Rigoberto Uran to win stage 12 of the Tour de France.

The fireworks in the fight for yellow came after Stephen Cummings fell short in his bid for a solo win on the 50th anniversary of Tom Simpson's death during the 1967 Tour.

Cummings stayed clear until midway up the Col de Peyresourde - a climb which saw Tour hopefuls Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador effectively say goodbye to their own chances - but the Briton was caught with eight kilometres of the stage remaining and had to settle for the day's most aggressive rider award. "I don't know, I'm not doing anything special", he said.