Italian champion Fabio Aru (pictured) launched a blistering attack in the final stretches of the fifth stage to claim his maiden Tour de France win on Wednesday, as defending champion Chris Froome took the yellow jersey.
Astana rider Aru jumped away from the leading group with 2.3km left in the 5.9km climb at a lung-busting average gradient of 8.5 percent.
On a searing hot day in eastern France, the 2015 Vuelta champion never looked back to become the third winner at the top of La Planche des Belles Filles, where Froome came to prominence in 2012 and Vincenzo Nibali prevailed in 2014, the year the Italian won the Tour.
Ireland’s Dan Martin took second place on Wednesday, 16 seconds behind, while Froome came home third 20 seconds off the pace with his rvial Richie Porte in his wheeltracks.
Colombian Nairo Quintana, tipped as one of Froome’s main challengers, struggled to finish ninth, 36 seconds back, while Spain’s Alberto Contador limited the damage in eighth place, 26 seconds behind Aru, who signalled his ambitions in style.
Froome took the yellow jersey from team mate Geraint Thomas, who could not sustain the pace on the steepest parts of the ascent.
Overall, three-time champion Froome leads Thomas by 12 seconds with Aru in third a further two seconds behind.