Tour de France - stage 12: Bardet victor, Aru yellow

Tour de France - stage 12: Bardet victor, Aru yellow

Tour de France - stage 12: Bardet victor, Aru yellow

Astana's Aru will wear the yellow jersey for the first time in his career, while Froome has handed it over for the second time in his, having also lost it after stage four in 2015 before reclaiming it three days later and carrying it to Paris. "I never imagined this would happen". They are proud and they will focus on getting the lead back.

Yates retained the white jersey for best young rider but saw his advantage over Meintjes cut to 2:38 after the South African rode clear of him - and Froome - on the final sting in the stage's tail.

Total control: Froome's Sky team had seemed to be in total control of the stage all day.

Aru is 6sec ahead of Froome in the general classification after the stage, with Bardet raising French hopes at 25sec.

Three-time Tour victor Froome faded badly on the brutal final climb of the 214.5km stage from Pau while Aru finished third to take the final bonus seconds on offer.

"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.

New Zealand's George Bennett, riding for Team LottoNL-Jumbo, finished eighth in the stage, 27 seconds behind Bardet, to move up to ninth overall, 4 minutes and 24 seconds behind Aru.

Uran sits fourth in the general classification, 55 seconds back after being docked 20 seconds for taking an illegal bottle in the final five kilometres.

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

It's still a long way to go and there's a nervous stage tomorrow. "I did my utmost at the end".

Cummings had said before the stage started he would look to get in a breakaway as a way to pay tribute to Tom Simpson on the 50th anniversary of his death on Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour. "I don't know, I'm not doing anything special", he said.

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