Fabio Aru has claimed his maiden Tour de France win as defending champion Chris Froome snatched a yellow jersey he intends to wear all the way back to Paris.
Italian champion Aru launched a blistering attack in the final stretches of the fifth stage, jumping away from the leading group with 2.3km left of the 5.9km climb at a lung-busting average gradient of 8.5 per cent.
On a searing hot day in eastern France, the 2015 Vuelta champion of the Astana team became the third winner at the top of La Planche des Belles Filles, where Team Sky’s Froome came to prominence in 2012 and Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali prevailed in 2014, the year he won the Tour.
“I had seen a video of Nibali’s win and I tried to do the same to see what would happen,” said the 27-year-old Aru.
“I wanted to test my rivals, I did not have the stage win in mind but obviously it’s a great day.”
Ireland’s Dan Martin took second place on Wednesday, 16 seconds behind, while Froome was 20 seconds off the pace in third, with his rival Richie Porte in his tracks.