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A day on the Tour de France

A day on the Tour de France”

Aru collected bonus seconds for his placing and now leads Froome by six seconds in the general classification.

Aru's team-mate Jakob Fuglsang, who sits fifth overall in the general classification, suffered fractures in his hand and elbow in a crash which ended the race of key domestique Dario Cataldo.

Froome's cause wasn't helped when he briefly followed Mikel Nieve off the road into some spectators trying to eat some food after they misjudged a corner. "I've read the book, it's something in British Cycling history that we know a lot about", he said of Simpson, the 1965 world champion and first Brit to wear the Tour's yellow jersey. "But Bardet, (Colombia's Rigoberto) Uran and Aru are all very close".

Italian Fabio Aru claimed the overall leader's yellow jersey as previous leader Froome of Team Sky could not sustain the pace in the final few hundred metres up a steep climb to the finish line. Rigoberto Uran, another potential victor in Paris, was second while Froome finished seventh.

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.

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Bidding to become the first Frenchman to win the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985, Bardet was the strongest in the brutal incline and described his third stage win on the Tour as "an enormous joy". However, the Colombian is still 55sec off the lead, as he was at the start of the day, after being penalised 20sec for illegally taking a water bottle from his team in the final 10km.

Nairo Quintana had already been dropped as the Colombian struggled to recover from the Giro d'Italia. They are proud and they will focus on getting the lead back.

Team Sky had dominated the stage until the final 350m, when Aru made his move. But Cummings didn't have the legs on the first category Col de Peyresourde and was caught with 8.6km left.

New Zealand's George Bennett climbed from 10th to 9th overall.

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