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Joy for Barguil and France on Bastille Day

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July 14, 2017 – Frenchman Warren Barguil took an emotional stage 13 victory on Bastille Day at the Tour de France on Friday as Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador fought back in the battle for yellow. Colombia’s Quintana was second and Spaniard Contador third to take back almost two minutes on Italian Fabio Aru, who maintained the race lead at the end of the short 101km Pyrenean stage from Saint Girons to Foix.

AFP / Image: Yuzuru Sunada

This win was sweet revenge for Barguil, who missed out to Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran in a photo finish on Sunday.

“It completely makes up for it. This just felt so good today,” said Barguil, the 16th Frenchman to win a Tour stage on Bastille Day. “Alberto Contador went on the attack. I went on the outside of him and then back in and I knew that I would be the fastest. Contador was my idol when I was younger. I never would have believed that I could do this a few years ago.”

Reigning champion Chris Froome finished alongside Aru, 1min 48sec behind the winner, to keep hold of second place at 6sec with Frenchman Romain Bardet remaining third at 25sec.

“That’s another day down so I can’t be anything but delighted,” said a beaming Aru.

“Yesterday was a tough day for me in the final,” said Froome, who lost the yellow jersey to Aru on Thursday after cracking on the brutally steep uphill finish. “Today I felt a lot better, we played a bit with our team because we had Mikel Landa, who’s not far back in the standings. It was perfect for us, Mikel was very strong — maybe in the next few days we can play even more with this.”

But the race was made first by Contador, who attacked on the first of three mountain climbs, and Quintana who attacked early on the second. Contador’s move with 70km to ride was marked by Landa while Quintana, less than 10km later, brought along Barguil. The latter two caught the former just before cresting the final summit of the day, 27km from the finish.

And those were the four who contested the sprint finish for victory, with Barguil bringing great delight to the home fans on their national holiday. Both Contador and Quintana had lost significant time over the first 12 days that left their overall hopes in tatters. But Contador moved into the top 10, although still more than five minutes back, while Quintana, still eighth, now has a deficit of just 2:07 to Aru. With two stages in the Alps to come, a resurgent Quintana is once again a serious threat for overall victory.

“Whenever I feel good and have even a gram of strength, I’ll try to give everything,” said Quintana.

In the final 10km, Ireland’s Dan Martin and Simon Yates of Britain escaped out of Aru’s group to snatch back a few seconds, although both lost a place to Landa.

Tour de France overall standings after stage 13: 101km from Saint-Girons to Foix:

1. Fabio Aru (ITA/Astana) 55hrs 30mins 06sec.
2. Christopher Froome (GBR/SKY) at 0:06.
3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 0:25.
4. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 0:35.
5. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 1:09.
6. Daniel Martin (IRL/QST) 1:32.
7. Simon Yates (GBR/ORI) 2:04.
8. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 2:07.
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA/EAU) 4:51.
10. Alberto Contador (ESP/TRE) 5:22.
11. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 6:24.
12. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 9:50.
13. Pierre Latour (FRA/ALM) 10:33.
14. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 11:13.
15. Warren Barguil (FRA/SUN) 14:05.
16. Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA/ALM) 14:36.
17. Emanuel Buchmann (GER/BOR) 16:34.
18. Carlos Betancur (COL/MOV) 18:00.
19. Guillaume Martin (FRA/AJW) 21:47.
20. Brice Feillu (FRA/TFO) 22:34.