Aru signals Tour ambitions with blistering attack


Just 61 seconds separate him from 10th-placed Rafal Majka of Poland. The time difference is three 10000th of a second.

But at the end of the first mountain summit finish of this year's race, the overall standings took on a familiar look as the overall contenders flexed their muscles for the first time. That's just shy of the height of western Europe's highest peak, Mont Blanc, and about belly button-height on Everest. And after the descent of the Mont du Chat there is 13.5km of flat racing, seven kilometres more than what we raced over in the Dauphine.

The gradient of the climb fluctuates throughout the ascent with its steeper sections reaching 12 per cent.

After a 25km transfer to the start this morning, my BMC squad were one of the first teams to arrive so instead of sitting on a stuffy team bus we all chose to go to the sign-on early.

"There was a bit of wind and the parasol took off and ended up in the road", said Froome, who had to veer out of the way. "I hope there's some exhausted legs among them tomorrow".

The GC (general classification) contenders will return to proper action on Sunday for a stage featuring three out-of-category climbs and a unsafe descent into Chambery.

An ecstatic Calmejane shook his head and raised his arms as the 24-year-old climber crossed the finishing line in the ski resort to become the second Frenchman to win a stage in the 2017 Tour, following Arnaud Demare's success on stage four.

Britain's Chris Froome still has the "Yellow Jersey".

The 8.7km climb, which averages more than 10 per cent and includes 15 per cent ramps midway up, was included in stage six of the Criterium du Dauphiné, preceded by one third category and one fourth category climb. Froome managed to stay on his bike and quickly recover. "One moment you're in control, the next thing you're in a ditch".

Calmejane had a 30-second lead by then and he increased it on the plateau to the finish despite easing up at one point to stretch his legs due to cramp, to win by 37sec. "It would have been so sad to lose the stage like that".

Robert Gesink (Lotto NL-Jumbo) +0:37 3. The French Guillaume Martin took third position, with a delay of 13 seconds.

Although Fabio Aru (Astana) wore the polka dot jersey comfortably, Bouet still put up a good fight for the sole point on offer.

"It was everything I was dreaming of".