Marcel Kittel wins his fifth stage of the Tour de France

Marcel Kittel wins his fifth stage of the Tour de France

Britain's Chris Froome, who represents Team Sky, retained the leader's yellow jersey with an 18-second advantage over Italian Fabio Aru.

"Landa dedicated himself to the team yesterday and he was criticised or talked down". Struggling from the outset, he later abandoned.

"If you gave us the yellow jersey back I think we'd figure it out, but at the minute it feels like a bit more fun to win it back", Brailsford told reporters after the stage. Then on the long descent - 26 kilometers - to Foix, he happily let the others do much of the work at the front while he bided his time for the final attack.

Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) was the main man apart from Quintana who was billed as a potential rival to Froome.

Barguil won by gapping to a breakaway of Mikel Landa and Alberto Contador up the third of three Category 1 climbs with the help Nairo Quintana. But this year, the Australian has been in ominous form, finishing 2nd in the Tour's lead-up race, the prestigious Critérium du Dauphiné.

Team Sky had held the yellow jersey since Geraint Thomas's time trial win in Dusseldorf on the opening day.

"It's incredible", said Barguil, who has recovered remarkably quickly from a pelvis fracture in a crash in April.

Sky has two riders - Froome and Landa - in the top five.

He was grimacing with the effort, his arms glistening with sweat, as he wrestled his bike up the super-steep climb that was used a location for the 1997 James Bond movie "Tomorrow Never Dies".

Aru took over the race lead by six seconds.

It's an unusually short stage for a Grand Tour but it should be fast and fireworks are expected.

Aru has only six seconds on Froome, but his edge matters. Sky has so many cards that it now has two legitimate threats for the overall. Team Cannondale's Uran and George Bennett (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo) were both handed a time penalty of 20 seconds for receiving a bottle of water from spectators within the final ten kilometers of the stage.

"We've got a lot of faith in Mikel and we showed that today", Froome added.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who finished stage 12 in second place, resides in fourth place overall - 35 seconds behind Aru.

Apart from the General Classification favourites, fans also had high hopes from Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan.

Bardet climbed to victory on the 214.5km stage to move third overall.

What;s the secret behind Marcel Kittel's immaculate hair? The reason people love cycling and love Grand Tours is because of the suspense of it all and it's the 'what's going to happen' and the tactical options. "He was one of the first big British riders that I was aware of".

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