Tour de France 2017: Fabio Aru solos to stage five victory as Chris Froome takes yellow jersey

Italian champion wins on La Planche des Belles Filles as defending champion claims race lead

Italian champion Fabio Aru (Astana) won stage five of the 2017 Tour de France on La Planche des Belles Filles as the general classification was obliterated on the first summit finish of this year’s race.

Aru, in the green, white and red jersey of national champion, attacked just outside the 2km-to-go mark and powered to solo victory ahead of an elite chasing group.

Dan Martin (QuickStep Floors) finished second, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) beat Richie Porte (BMC Racing) into third place to claim the race lead.

Fabio Aru soloed to victory on stage five of the 2017 Tour de France atop La Planche des Belles Filles (pic – Alex Broadway-ASO)

Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) finished sixth on the stage to move sixth overall and first in the youth classification – moving into the white jersey.

Previous race leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) was one of a number of riders dropped towards the summit of the climb, with Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) also losing time.

Thomas is now second overall, 12 seconds behind Froome, with Aru a further two seconds back in third place.

Chris Froome took over the yellow jersey from team-mate Geraint Thomas (pic – Alex Broadway-ASO)

It was little surprise to see Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) and Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) in the day’s break, and with Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Philippe Gilbert (QuickStep Floors) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) also present there was no shortage of firepower.

Mickael Delage (FDJ), Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac) and Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) completed the break, but they found BMC Racing up for the chase and the gap was always under control.

Though Team Sky were defending the yellow jersey, Richie Porte’s team were happy to sit on the front of the bunch and drive the tempo throughout the stage.

The intermediate sprint offered a good idea of the riders who will now be challenging for the green jersey and, after Boasson Hagen scooped maximum points from the breakaway, Michael Matthews was best of the rest in the peloton.

Geraint Thomas rode in the yellow jersey, but BMC Racing were happy to take over pace-setting duties from Team Sky (pic – Alex Broadway-ASO)

All of the leading sprinters got involved, with no need to hold back for the stage finale – a sight that, in Peter Sagan’s absence, is likely to be a continued theme of this year’s race.

Jan Bakelants led over the Cote d’Esmoulieres, meanwhile, with the climb seeing De Gendt and Delage drop back to the peloton.

BMC Racing’s pace meant the gap was always reducing, however, and after a last acceleration from Gilbert and Bakelants it was game over for the breakaway on the La Planche des Belles Filles climb.

Team Sky took charge on the climb, with Michal Kwiatkowski, Sergio Henao and Mikel Nieve lined out in front of Thomas and Froome.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), both racing on the back of the Giro d’Italia, were among the victims of the pace-setting, as was Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb).

Aru accelerated with little more than 2km to race, bursting clear of the bunch in the Italian national champion’s jersey.

His gap went up rapidly as he passed under the 2km-to-go kite, before Yates upped the ante, tailed by Thomas and Froome.

Froome’s acceleration came moments later, with Porte, Martin and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) behind him.

It was enough to drop Quintana, Contador and Yates, while Thomas was also in the chasing group.

Simon Yates is now sixth overall and into the white jersey (pic – Alex Broadway-ASO)

Aru was not coming back, however, celebrating victory on the same climb former team-mate Vincenzo Nibali had won on, also in the Italian champion’s jersey, back in 2014.

Martin kicked to claim second place, while Froome snaffled the final bonus points ahead of Porte.

Six seconds later, Yates led Uran and Contador across the finish line to move into the white jersey, while Thomas was tenth – 40 seconds behind Aru on the stage.

Froome, as a result, will now wear the yellow jersey and will expect to keep it for at least the next three days with the next mountain test not coming until stage eight on Saturday.

The last two riders to pull on the yellow jersey after La Planche des Belles Filles, however – Sir Bradley Wiggins and Vincenzo Nibali – have held it all the way to Paris.

And Froome is keen to retain the jersey as long as possible. He said: “I’m obviously really happy to be back in yellow. I’m going to try and defend the jersey as long as I can. It’s not a new feeling being in yellow, it’s something we’ve worked very hard for and I’m going to try and keep it as long as possible.”

Tour de France 2017: stage five – result

1) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana – 3.44.06hrs
2) Dan Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors +16″
3) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +20″
4) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing – ST
5) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +24″
6) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +26″
7) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Cannondale-Drapac – ST
8) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo
9) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +34″
10) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +40″

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 18.38.59hrs
2) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +12″
3) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +14″
4) Daniel Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors +25″
5) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +39″
6) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +43″
7) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +47″
8) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo +52″
9) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +54″
10) Rafal Majka (POL) – Bora-hansgrohe +1.01

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