Italian champion finished third behind the stage winner Romain Bardet and Colombian rider Rigoberto Uran, who did second. Chris Froome lost 20 seconds to Aru and with the bonifications at the finish it was enough for Astana rider to take the yellow jersey of the Tour de France.
- It is impossible to describe my emotions and feelings. For every rider, it is a dream to wear the yellow jersey. In my career, I was wearing the pink jersey of the Giro and the red jersey of the Vuelta. So, I’ve missed just the yellow and today I’ve got it! I am super happy! – explained Fabio Aru.
- Honestly, it was a very tough stage, also the weather did it even harder. I want to thank my team, who supported me and kept me in front the whole day. The last climb was very fast and steep. I attacked with more or less 350 meters to go and gave my all for a maximal result. I congratulate Romain Bardet with a nice victory. But for me it is a great trophy to get this yellow jersey. Unfortunately, yesterday Dario Cataldo was forced to quit the race after the crash. Also, Jakob Fuglsang had a terrible day today – he rode with an injury. So, I want to dedicate this yellow jersey to them and also to the entire team, who was close to me in these days, - added Fabio Aru.
After stage 12 (Pau – Peyragudes, 214,5 km) Fabio Aru leads the general classification, Chris Froome is 6 seconds behind, Romain Bardet is third, 25 seconds behind.
- There are a lot of important stages still ahead here at the Tour de France and already tomorrow we will have a short but difficult stage in the Pyrenees, which can change a lot. I think we have a strong team and despite yesterday crashes we are ready to continue our fight at the Tour. We will move here step by step, stage by stage, - said Fabio Aru.
It was a really hard day for another Astana leader Jakob Fuglsang. Due to his injury, he had to step down from the leading group on the Port de Balés and to continue with his own rhythm. At the finish, he lost over 27 minutes to the stage winner.
- I am fully empty. The first part I tried to follow the others, but later it was just too much for me – my injury and its consequences did not allow me to continue the fight in the overall classification. A very tough day for me. But, tomorrow I want to start again. Will see how it will be, - said Jakob Fuglsang.
Stage 13 of the Tour de France will be held tomorrow: 101 km from Saint-Girons to Foix with 3 climbs of first category.
Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto