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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Frenchman wins Tour stage on Bastille Day

Fabio Aru keeps yellow but challengers circle

France's Warren Barguil, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, celebrates as he wins the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)</p>
France's Warren Barguil, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, celebrates as he wins the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)</p>

Frenchman Warren Barguil delivered a Bastille Day victory on stage 13 of the Tour de France as Team Sky piled pressure on Fabio Aru in the yellow jersey.

Team Sunweb's Barguil won the short, sharp 101 kilometre stage from Saint-Girons to Foix out of a breakaway which had been driven by Sky's Mikel Landa and fellow Spaniard Alberto Contador.

Landa finished fourth to claw back one minute and 48 seconds in the general classification, putting him within 69 seconds of Aru in yellow as Sky plot to reclaim the yellow jersey Chris Froome lost on Thursday.

The top four in the general classification had crossed the line together in the third group on the road, keeping Aru six seconds clear of Froome, with Frenchman Romain Bardet of AG2R La Mondiale 25 seconds down in third and Colombian Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale-Drapac fourth at 35 seconds.

"Yesterday was a difficult day for me but today I felt a lot better and we played a lot with our team," said Froome. "We had Mikel not a long way back on GC, and maybe over the next few days we can do the same thing again."

There was speculation overnight that Landa's late dig into Peyragudes - where he beat Froome to the line on Thursday - meant the Spaniard was not 100 per cent behind Sky's three-time Tour winner and looking out for his own interests.

But in moving up the standings himself, he has given Sky plenty of options in the coming days. Their rivals must now try to cover both Froome and Landa if they launch attacks.

"We've got a lot of faith in Mikel and we showed that today," Froome added. "He's a real threat now for the overall title in Paris and it's a great card for us to play, especially when Astana don't have the numbers."

Astana's options were limited further on Friday when Criterium du Dauphine winner Jakob Fuglsang finally succumbed to the fractures he suffered in a stage 11 crash and abandoned.

Aru admitted Landa's move had given him plenty to worry about in the days to come.

"For sure he was a bit far behind so I knew he could try something today, but I couldn't follow everyone," he said. "Now, considerring where he is on the GC, I will give him less freedom."

Press Association