Britain's Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the fifth stage of the Tour de France
Britain's Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the fifth stage of the Tour de France Christophe Ena

VIDEO: Porte, Froome make their move in Tour de France

RICHIE Porte has rocketed to fifth overall and rival Chris Froome is the new race leader after the first summit finish of the Tour de France separated the contenders from the pretenders.

Italian Fabio Aru won the 160.5km Stage 5 to the top of La Planche des Belles Felles, seizing on Porte's battle with Chris Froome to sneak clear with 2.3km to go, while Dan Martin followed suit to finish second.

Porte, whose BMC team had controlled the race all day in a statement of intent, was 20 seconds back alongside Froome after the pair traded blows on the steepest slopes of the final climb.

It was Froome's surge to try and haul in Astana's Aru with 1.7km remaining that dislodged the defending champion's Team Sky teammate and previous race leader Geraint Thomas.

Porte launched his attack inside the final kilometre and despite now sitting 39 seconds behind Froome because of time bonuses, was very optimistic at the finish.

"Satisfying is a good word to sum it up. The team were fantastic today, they really took the race up," Porte said.

"I would have liked to be up there more for the stage (win), but Fabio Aru was super strong today.

"I think Sky were good, but not as dominant as before. Froome is obviously in great form and still the big favourite here.

"Aru is really flying at the moment and he's one of the guys to watch for sure. When he jumped away Sky obviously tried to chase, but he was strong so I tip my hat to him. But I think now he's going to take a bit more pressure."

Aru, who missed May's Giro d'Italia with a knee injury, was ecstatic.

"I'm amazed. I attacked and gave it everything. I wanted to see who would move because Team Sky was setting a fast pace," Aru said.

"I wanted to see what they had. The final 300m were terrible, but then when I looked back with 200m to go and I knew I had it."

It was the first time in 25 years that the Tour de France has featured a first-category climb this early in the race. But several steep sections, combined with the fact the 5.9km is one of only three summit finishes in 2017, prompted an aggression that claimed several high-profile victims.

Alberto Contador finished 26 seconds behind Aru, while Nairo Quintana (34 seconds), Thomas (40 seconds), Jakob Fuglsang (1min7secs), Esteban Chaves (1min59secs) and Thibaut Pinot (4min11secs) all suffered.

Quintana's surrender was arguably the most surprising, with the Colombian saying his body was "recovering its tone" after the Giro.

 

Froome (L) and BMC Racing Team rider Richie (R) Porte of Australia in action during the 5th stage
Froome (L) and BMC Racing Team rider Richie (R) Porte of Australia in action during the 5th stage BERNARD PAPON / POOL

"A tough first mountain stage, a very fast one from the start, a really hot one and it ended up not being the best one for me," Quintana said.

"My goal was not losing time and at the end when I couldn't follow the pace, the only thing I could do was give my best and concede as little time as possible."

Orica-Scott's young Briton Simon Yates, meanwhile, finished sixth to take the white jersey in the young rider's competition.

"There's not many summit finishes this year at the Tour and I think you really have to take the opportunity when it comes," Yates said.

"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."

Porte, speaking at the start of the day, said Froome taking yellow jersey would mean extra pressure for a Sky team needing to defend it for another 16 days.

But Froome gleefully received it after the stage, continuing his trend of snatching the maillot jaune on the Tour's first summit finish.

"It's an amazing feeling to be back in yellow. Froome said.

"Having said that I know the race is far, far from over. As a team, we're in a great position - first and second. We can take confidence from that and it gives us options going forward in terms being able to play both cards."

News Corp Australia


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