Stage five: Fabio Aru is no muppet
It was a day for the breakaway big hitters. When he’s not at the front of the break, trying to ride everyone off his wheel with a complete absence of subtlety, Thomas de Gendt is at the front of the peloton, chasing it down. Without him, you wonder where the Tour de France would actually get to.
Thomas Voeckler was there too, providing one of the final chances to see his many faces ahead of his impending retirement.
They were joined by former world champion, Philippe Gilbert, the inspiration for this website; Jan Bakelants, who secured one of the more memorable wins in the recent history of the Tour de France; and Mickael Delage, who you don’t know, but who basically lives in the Tour de France break.
None of them made it to the finish ahead of the peloton.
The stage win
The 2015 Vuelta a Espana winner, Fabio Aru, was the quickest up the final climb of the Plank of the Beautiful Girls. He finished 16 seconds ahead of Dan Martin in second place and picked up a 10 second time bonus for winning the stage too. Chris Froome was third, four seconds behind Martin.
When Aru gets out of the saddle, he bobs around like a muppet. Like an actual muppet. Like Gonzo or someone.
He flaps from side to side comically, seemingly attempting to put more force through the pedals than his flimsy-looking body is capable of delivering. There must be something going on though as once he’d gone, no-one could catch him.
The top ten
Thanks to the stage one time trial, Froome had a head start on his rivals and today’s stage meant he hopped past Geraint Thomas to take the yellow jersey. Aru moved up to third.
There were also a few casualties, time-wise. Nairo Quintana’s 34-second loss was the most obvious, but there were others. Jakob Fuglsang lost 1m07s, Esteban Chaves waved his chances goodbye after shedding 1m59s and Thibaut Pinot fared worse still, finishing 4m11s off the pace.
The other favourites were all within a minute of Aru.
Here’s the new top ten, positively swelling with Britons and British-born Irishmen.
Back to the 200km flat stages. Riders who felt a bit bored by the terrain prior to la Planche des Belles Filles may now welcome such a stage.