Aru flexes his climbing muscles as Froome takes yellow

Updated: 

Fabio Aru produced a superb solo climb to take stage-five victory at the Tour de France as the yellow jersey passed from Geraint Thomas to Sky team-mate Chris Froome.

After the drama of stage four that saw Peter Sagan disqualified and Mark Cavendish abandon the race due to injury, the Tour returned to tactical racing and Aru laid down an impressive marker.

An undulating stage from Vittel took in a category three climb before the summit finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles - the first mountain test of the 2017 route.

The peloton allowed a six-man group to hold a three-minute advantage for much of the stage before the general classification contenders came to the fore.

Where the stage winner would come from remained unclear until Aru launched a stinging attack that none of his rivals could cope with - earning him much needed bonus seconds to move back into GC contention.

Behind him Richie Porte tried to test Froome in the closing metres but the Briton was having none of it and usurped his former team-mate to take third place behind Dan Martin in second.

With Thomas dropped on the final climb he saw his time in yellow come to an end, but as Froome's domestique he did enough to put the defending champion in the lead and the Welshman will now revert to supporting another title push. 

GOOD DAY/BAD DAY

Aru showed he has fully recovered from the knee problem that saw him miss the Giro d'Italia and his climbing prowess cannot be ignored - he will be a contender should he continue to produce similar performances.

Meanwhile, Froome also enjoyed a good day as he took over the race lead. On the two previous visits to La Planche des Belles Filles, the rider who had the yellow jersey kept it until the end - something Froome will hope happens again.

He will have been particularly delighted to see rivals Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana struggle, but neither man should be discounted at this early stage.

Cavendish's participation in the 2017 race was quickly ended as scans showed he had fractured his shoulder blade in the incident that saw Sagan kicked off the Tour.

The Team Dimension Data rider was "massively disappointed" and no wonder, the Manxman losing the chance to close the gap on Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins as he remains on 30 for another year.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Fabio Aru (Astana) 3:44:06
2. Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) +16s
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +20s
4. Richie Porte (BMC Racing) +20s
5. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +24s

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky)
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +12s
3. Fabio Aru (Astana)  +14s

POINTS CLASSIFICATION

1. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) 127 points
2. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 87 points
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 73 points

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

1. Fabio Aru (Astana) 10 points
2. Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) 8 points
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 6 points


UP NEXT...

If the peloton's legs were tired after the first category one climb then they will be pleased that stage six is relatively flat from Vesoul to Troyes.

The 216km includes two category climbs but it is the sprinters who should be contending for the win - let's just hope there is less drama than on stage four!