Tour de France: Stage 13 preview

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On the final steep climb to the finish of Thursday's 214.5km stage from Pau to Peyragudes, Froome couldn't match the attack of stage victor Romain Bardet, nor that of Aru who finished third.

Aru has only six seconds on Froome, but his edge matters.

For the second time after Aru prevailed at the top of La Planche des Belles Filles last week, Froome was beaten in a summit finish."I didn't have the legs".

Despite the advantage increasing when Froome and Italian national champion Aru briefly went off road, Cummings was eventually caught and passed by a select group. "But I didn't have the legs, I was giving the maximum".

"Sky still have a very strong team relative to others", said American LeMond, a Tour victor in 1986, 1989 and 1990.

The final of the six ascents on the menu of the 214.5 kilometers (133 miles) stage between Pau and the ski station was too hard for Froome, who had worn the yellow jersey over the previous seven stages.

The first time, in the first week of the 2015 Tour, the race was still in a skirmishing phase and Froome had nearly taken the lead too soon.

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Froome was gracious in defeat and didn't seem particularly concerned at having lost the yellow jersey.

That will no longer be possible, obviously, but the differences are minimal, with just six seconds between the Briton and the Italian. "The most important thing for me is to stay consistent". "Against these guys it is not very realistic to win, but you got to try", he said.

The champion of Italy was dressed for the first time in his career the yellow jersey.

Thursday also marked the 50th anniversary of one of the Tour's greatest tragedies - the death of British cyclist Tom Simpson on nearby Mont Ventoux on 13 Juli 1967.

"It's a good sign (that the Tour is not over yet) but it was just two hundred metres and I would not think too much about it", LeMond, who is on the Tour as an analyst for Eurosport, said in his daily chat with Reuters on Thursday.

With his Team Sky team-mates peeling off the front, Froome appeared certain to attack in the closing kilometres. Although dramatic, none of the trio were actually hurt, and their rivals eased up their pace until they could rejoin the peloton.

The arrival of the 214,5 km, Bardet has the lead by 2 seconds Uran and Aru. "It's a shame that Sky kept the gap so close because in the end I didn't have the legs but I tried!" "Tomorrow's stage may be harder than today".

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