Warren Barguil pleasures home fans with Tour de France win as Landa moves up

Warren Barguil delivered France a stylish victory on Bastille Day at the Tour de France, winning a fast, furious and short stage 13

Like wasps around a broken pot of jam, the throng around the yellow jersey swarms on a daily basis, steadily becoming more menacing. Fabio Aru managed to hold the maillot jaune on a spectacular Bastille Day stage which went to Warren Barguil the first Frenchman to win on the Fte Nationale in 12 years but the Italian appears a provisional tenant at best.

His Astana team were blown away, while Team Sky played a classic pincer move after losing the yellow jersey on Thursday, pushing Mikel Landa up the stands into a threatening fifth overall. Irelands Daniel Martin also closed in, albeit by only a few seconds.

Behind Aru, Froome still lurks at 6sec, Romain Bardet remains at 25 sec and Rigoberto Urn having had a 20 -second penalty for alleged irregular feeding the previous day overruled stands at 35 sec. With no change in the four largest, and devoted his team were completely absent from the pointy aim of the race, Aru could look back on this stage with the sense of a job well done, but there is no sense his task will get much easier.

Something happened here which bodes well for the Tour as a competition, if perhaps not so blithely for Aru: a resurrection of sorts for Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador. The Colombian is far from out of the reckoning, having regained much of what he lost at Peyragudes to move to 2min 7sec behind, while Contador cannot win this Tour but is defining himself up as a potential joker, a trouble-fte who will create chaos at any opportunity.

The 2007 and 2009 Tour winner has at most a year left in him and enjoyed himself, as he set it, with a move reminiscent of his long-range attack over the Galibier in 2011. He sprang out of the peloton on the lower slopes of the first climbing, the Col de Latrape, and was instantly joined by Landa. The Spaniard had been at loggerheads with Team Sky the previous day and the obvious solution was to give him his head, simultaneously taking the pressure off Froome and turning up the heat on Aru.

After years in which the sight of a phalanx of Team Sky riders dragging Froome along has become a Tour staple, to ensure a yellow jersey fending for himself for much of a stage was disconcerting. Aru had no team-mates to help him, and as expected Jakob Fuglsang abandoned during the stage. Fortunately for him, the race leader procured others willing to attain the pace a little: Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo, UAEs Kristijan Durasek, both defending team-mates in the top 10.

Fabio
Fabio Aru, wearing the yellow jersey, speeds on a descent. Photograph: Christophe Ena/ AP

Quintana and Barguil initially in search of points to strengthen his grip on the mountains jersey made a counter move soon after Landa and Contador had flown, and after a drawn out chase, they caught up with the duo close to the top of the third ascent of the working day, the Mur de Pgure, a single car-width strip of road with sections at close to 20%. Two minutes clear, the quartet had the stage win in the bag; behind, the group around Aru had shrunk to only eight.

It was Martin who defined the pace on the Pgure but Froome who made an impression, twice testing Aru close to the top.

There was more probing on the descent: first Bardet, then Urn, Martin and finally Simon Yates, with the Briton and the Irishman doing enough to gain a few seconds by the line.

By this time, Barguil was savouring the victory he had thought was his on Sunday, when he had been beaten by Urn by a tyres thicknes. Here, the outcome depended on the final 180 -degree turn just 150 m from the line; with an assurance that would have done credit to his fellow Breton Bernard Hinault, Barguil tracked Contador when he headed for the corner, then took the widest line possible, carrying more momentum out of the turning and making sure there was no need for the photofinish.

It has taken Barguil a while to construct his mark on the Tour. Like Bardet, “hes one” of the new wave of French talent but at 25 he is a year younger than the AG2R leader and after winning two stages of the Vuelta in 2013, his career had stalled a little.

A wave of French success four stage wins in nine days will do the Tour nothing but good, as will the overall combat now brewing. Arus concern has to be that with a weak team around him and seven riders within 2min 7sec, anything can happen this weekend, particularly on Sundays hilly run across the Massif Central.

Perhaps in the coming days we can play a bit more, said Froome when asked about Landas rise. He will be far from the only one with that thought.

Stage 13 outcomes : 1 Warren Barguil( Team Sunweb) 2:36: 29, 2 Nairo Quintana( Movistar) same day, 3 Alberto Contador( Trek-Segafredo) s/ t, 4 Mikel Landa( Team Sky) +2, 5 Simon Yates( Orica-Scott) +1:39, 6 Daniel Martin( Quick-Step Floors ), 7 Michal Kwiatkowski( Team Sky) +1:48, 8 Chris Froome( Team Sky) s/ t, 9 Fabio Aru( Astana Pro) s/ t, 10 Rigoberto Urn( Cannondale-Drapac) s/ t.

General category after stage 13 : 1 Fabio Aru( Astana Pro) 55:30: 06, 2 Chris Froome( Team Sky) +6, 3 Romain Bardet( AG2R La Mondiale) +25, 4 Rigoberto Urn( Cannondale-Drapac) +35, 5 Mikel Landa( Team Sky) +1:09, 6 Daniel Martin( Quick-Step) +1:32, 7 Simon Yates( Orica-Scott) +2:04, 8 Nairo Quintana( Movistar) +2:07, 9 Louis Meintjes( UAE Team Emirates) +4:51, 10 Alberto Contador( Trek-Segafredo) +5:22.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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