Tour de France 2017: Chris Froome takes yellow jersey as Fabio Aru climbs to victory

Chris Froome took the Tour de France yellow jersey from Team Sky colleague Geraint Thomas as Fabio Aru claimed a superb victory in Stage 5 at La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges mountains.

Fabio Aru
Fabio Aru

Italian national champion Aru of Team Astana made his decisive attack 2.5km from the finish of the 160.5km stage, winning the first of only three summit showdowns on the 2017 Tour by 16 seconds ahead of Ireland’s Dan Martin.

Defending champion Froome pipped former team-mate Richie Porte of BMC for third place to go into yellow at the expense of Welshman Thomas, who struggled with a series of attacks on the steep double-digit ramp in a thrilling finale.

Froome leads Thomas by 12 seconds in the general classification with the impressive Aru up to third place, a further two seconds back, after the first Tour stage win of his career.

Martin was rewarded for his tenacity and attacking insinct by rising to fourth place at 25 seconds while Australia’s Porte – who conceded four bonus seconds to Froome at the finish – now trails the Briton by 39 seconds in fifth.

“I’m obviously really happy to be back in yellow,” said Froome, winner on this same climb as Bradley Wiggins' lieutenant on the Tour’s first ever visit back in 2012.

“Fabio rode a great stage today and went at a really good moment. We probably gave him a little bit too much space – especially with that flat part of the climb with around one kilometre to go. No one really wanted to pull there and I think he was able to open up the gap.”

“I expected more attacks from some of my rivals but there’s still a lot of racing to come and we can obviously expect a lot from guys like Richie and Fabio, again, once we get into the high mountains.”

Aru’s victory means the 27-year-old from Sardinia – who was forced to sit out May’s Giro owing to a knee injury – has now won stages in all three of cycling’s Grand Tours. He also moved into the lead in the polka dot jersey standings.

“After winning stages on the Giro and the Vuelta, it’s a huge honour to win a stage of the Tour,” Aru said. “I felt I could do it today. My attack went really well but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stay out.”

Aru said he was inspired by the victory of his former Astana team-mate Vincenzo Nibali, whose victory on La Planche des Belles Filles in 2014 saw the Italian take back the yellow jersey and hold it all the way to Paris.

“I watched Vincenzo’s win here before so to follow him is incredible,” Aru, the 2015 Vuelta champion, said.