• Fabio Aru is holding Chris Froome's Yellow Jersey by just six seconds. (Getty)Source: Getty
After the 13th stage of the Tour de France, Fabio Aru held on to the Yellow Jersey for another day despite unrelenting pressure from his rivals.
Cycling Central

15 Jul 2017 - 8:38 AM  UPDATED 15 Jul 2017 - 8:40 AM

The 101km stage from Saint-Girons to Foix, which included three Category 1 climbs packed into its short distance, was the scene of the most animated racing of the Tour to date.

Sunweb's Warren Barguil punched his way to a French win on Bastille Day but it was the General Classification battle which intrigued, with Aru riding defensively as his position came under threat.

Barguil's Bastille day win as short stage provides fireworks
It was a day for the French on Bastille Day as Warren Barguil (Sunweb) took the win after a dramatic day of tactics between the top contenders for the yellow jersey.

"We expected that the stage will be very hard and exhausting," Aru said. "There were a lot of attacks, especially, on the last downhill. But, I tried to keep my concentration and act with a cool head and without too much stress."

That cool head worked in his favour and he ended the day as he started, leading Chris Froome (Sky) by six seconds and Romain Bardet (AG2R) by 25.

"It worked well and it is another day in the yellow jersey for me. I try to take my leaderships calmly," he said. "There is a long way to Paris, we have to pass through many tough stages. Tomorrow is another day and another stage, which will request all our forces. So, we will keep on fighting.

The list of riders determined to crack the Sardinian included Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Mikel Landa (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) while Froome and Bardet were content to mark the race leader.

However, Aru's task became just that little bit harder with injured Astana team-mate Jakob Fuglsang forced out after struggling gamely with a fractured wrist.

Fuglsang fractured but not broken
Jakob Fuglsang will continue racing the Tour de France despite fracturing two bones in a crash on stage 11 that also felled and forced the abandonment of Astana teammate Dario Cataldo.

The Dane arrived at the Tour as Astana's second option after winning the Critérium du Dauphiné and would have been a key lieutenant when the race heads to the Alps and Aru will likely miss his firepower.

"I did all I could, but all left part of my body just did not want to work. I had no power to stay in the group," Fuglsang said.

"Right from the start the speed of the peloton was very high, so I had to continue following my own rhythm. But before the last climb I’ve realised, it is just too much for me, I had to give up.

"It is not easy at all to leave the Tour de France and my team, but there is nothing to do. The main goal for me now is to get a full recovery."

There will be some respite for Aru on Stage 14 and 15 before the rest day and an appointment with the Alps and potential destiny as a Tour winner.

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