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George Bennett climbs into ninth, Chris Froome loses Tour de France lead

George Bennett climbs into ninth, Chris Froome loses Tour de France lead

But what were the full standings after stage 12 at the 104th edition of the Tour and how do the various classifications now look? However, the route only included a single Hors Categorie climb and the stage profile did not scare a relatively large breakaway group that formed early in the stage. "He was one of the first big British riders that I was aware of".

Froome and Team Sky seemed comfortably in control for 213 of the stage's 214 kilometre trek through the Pyrenees, with the Briton and his squad keeping a relentless high pace. The British national champion dropped De Gendt and took on a courageous battle against the peloton in the hard mountainous terrain.

Starting in the town of Saint-Girons, the first 25 kilometres gradually rise, before the first climb of the day.

Team Sky had controlled the race until the punchy 2.4km final climb but Froome admits he simply didn't have anything left to respond to the late efforts but is ready to fight back in the remaining week-and-a-half of racing. Every chance. But here's the point: should he return to the top step after this setback by the time the race rolls into Paris, then he will have triumphed against adversity, he will demonstrate the great reserves of strength we know are there.

The final of the six ascents on the menu of the 214.5km stage between Pau and the ski station was too hard for Froome, who had worn the yellow jersey over the previous seven stages. Froome, therefore, had to hand over the yellow race leader's jersey to Aru.

But for Froome, the day's good work was undone in the space of a few hundred metres as he finished seventh, 20 seconds behind Aru, surrendering his general classification lead and the yellow jersey to his Italian rival.

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Three of the main contenders crashed as last year's runner-up Romain Bardet, third overall, Jakob Fuglsang (fifth) and twice victor Alberto Contador (12th) hit the deck in separate incidents. Crucially, he was 20 seconds down on Aru, meaning that the Italian has claimed the yellow.

Bardet countered a move by George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Fabio Aru (Astana) in the final kilometre today. Bardet did the same, but was not penalized.

Froome also expects Contador to try and wreak havoc during Friday's shorter stage to Foix.

"The team has never been so strong, we are a real factor in the race".

Fabio Aru of Italy, riding for Astana Pro Team, slips on the leader's yellow jersey after taking over from Chris Froome.

When crosswinds started making the bunch nervous toward the end of the 203.5-kilometer (126-mile) stage from Eymet to Pau, the stress became palpable and led to several crashes at the back of the peloton.


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