British climber Simon Yates has stood up to the first big test of the 2017 Tour de France, finishing sixth on stage five to move up to sixth overall and into the best young rider’s jersey.
The stage was set for first of just three summit finishes and it didn’t disappoint with Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) launching a move with two kilometres to go that couldn’t be matched for the victory.
Behind, Yates was the only rider to set off in an attempt to fight for the stage win but the 24-year-old then settled back in with the group of general classification favourites before finishing 26seconds behind stage winner Aru for sixth place.
“I always try,” Yates explained after the finish. “There’s not many summit finishes this year at the Tour and I think you really have to take the opportunity when it comes.”
“I knew the climb from previous years. I felt pretty good. Maybe I burnt some matches there, but I wanted to try to win the stage so sometimes you have to risk a bit.
“There’s a lot of strong guys not really very far behind me so it’s going to be difficult to try to keep hold of (the white jersey) but I’ll give it my best shot.”
How it happened:
Anticipation was high as the peloton set off on stage five for what was touted as the first general classification test of this year’s Tour de France.
Eight riders formed the day’s breakaway, but BMC Racing Team immediately moved to the front of the peloton and took responsibility in controlling their advantage.
They allowed the breakaway a maximum of three-minutes advantage but had it within a minute at the foot of the final climb.
On the final ascent, Team Sky moved to the front and set a solid pace that whittled down the bunch as many riders lost touch and the final breakaway riders were swept up.
Aru attacked with two kilometres to go and wasn’t seen again as he rode to the stage victory. Daniel Martin (Quickstep Floors) finished 14seconds behind for second place with Chris Froome 20seconds adrift to take third and the overall lead.
Tour de France – Stage 5 Results:
1. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) 3:44:06
2. Daniel Martin (Quivkstep Floors) +0:14
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +0:20
6. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:26
Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 5:
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 18:38:59
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +0:12
3. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) +0:14
6. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:43