Thursday, July 13, 5:10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. ET
The first of two Pyrenean stages, stage 12 is an important moment for the race. The 214.5-kilometer route concludes with the difficult climb to Peyragudes that the Tour first used in 2012. There is a notable difference, though, as this year the finale takes place on the runway of the only mountain airfield in the French Pyrenees, with some sections of the last kilometer reaching 16 percent. The riders will have already climbed the Col des Ares, the Col de Mente, and the Port de Balès — in total, four major climbs grouped in the last 100 kilometers — so expect significant gaps at the finish.
Stage 12: Bardet wins, Froome loses yellow
On the steep slopes of Peyragudes, the once unflappable Chris Froome saw Fabio Aru ride away to take the yellow jersey Thursday in the Tour de France. Ag2r La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet won stage 12 just ahead of Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale-Drapac). Astana’s Aru was third on the day.
After the first day in the Pyrénées, Aru held the lead by six seconds on Froome. Bardet remained third overall, 25 seconds back.
“It’s one of the best things that can happen in life to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France,” said Aru. “I never imagined this would happen. It was a really tough day and tough stage. I’m delighted to wear this jersey, it repays all my teammates who’ve
helped me so much in this Tour — I dedicate it to them.”
Stage 12, top 10
1. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) in 5h49:38.
2. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) at 0:02.
3. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 0:02.
4. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 0:05.
5. Louis Meintjes (RSA/EAU) 0:07.
6. Daniel Martin (EIR/QST) 0:13.
7. Christopher Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:22.
8. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 0:27.
9. Simon Yates (GBR/ORI) 0:27.
10. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 1:28.
1. Fabio Aru (ITA/Astana) in 52h51:49.
2. Christopher Froome (GBR/SKY) at 0:06.
3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 0:25.
4. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 0:35.
5. Daniel Martin (EIR/QST) 1:41.
6. Simon Yates (GBR/ORI) 2:13.
7. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 2:55.
8. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 4:01.
9. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 4:04.
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA/EAU) 4:51.
Throughout the mountainous 214.5-kilometer ride from Pau, Team Sky was in control for Froome. Often, all seven white Sky jerseys were on the front with Froome’s yellow neatly tucked in behind.
British champion Stephen Cummings was off the front going into the penultimate climb, the Peyresourde. The Dimension Data opportunist was the last survivor of the day’s 12-man breakaway. He was swept up on the 9.7km ascent.
With Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski and Mikel Nieve driving the pace, Nairo Quintana was dropped. Near the top, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) went the way of Movistar’s Colombian, off the back.
After descending the Peyresourde, Froome and Aru had a near-miss on the corner into Peyragudes. They rode off into the grass but neither crashed. The duo soon rejoined the front group.
The nine GC contenders remained together until the last kilometer. When the climb pitched to 16 percent, Kiwi George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) struck first.
Aru went next with the counter-attack. Dan Martin (Quick-Step) followed immediately. It was soon obvious that Froome could not respond to the violent accelerations.
After Martin popped, Bardet jumped off of Aru’s wheel in the final 100 meters. Stage 9 winner Urán rode past Aru, but Bardet’s gap was set. The Frenchman rode across the line to his third career Tour stage win.
“I’m delighted to have raised my arms [in victory], it’s a weight off my shoulders because I hadn’t done it yet this year,” said Bardet.
Despite his yellow jersey, Aru will likely be disappointed that his teammate Jakob Fuglsang lost time Thursday, suffering with a broken wrist.
Froome will likely face more attacks Friday in stage 13, now that his rivals have tasted blood in the water. The race will be merely 101 kilometers with three categorized climbs.
“It was a very, very tough finish. I didn’t have the legs in the final, but there’s still a long way to go,” said Froome. “I just have to applaud Romain Bardet for winning the stage, it’s a great win, and also to Fabio Aru for getting the jersey.
“I gave everything I could at the end, but I didn’t have the legs to follow.”