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Chris Froome loses Tour de France lead (video)

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Chris Froome lost the Tour de France yellow jersey to Italian Fabio Aru by uncharacteristically fading in the final kilometer of Stage 12 in the Pyrenees on Thursday.

France’s Romain Bardet, third in the overall standings, won the stage.

Rigoberto Uran and Aru were second and third, both two seconds behind. Froome, who entered the day with an 18-second lead on Aru, was 22 seconds back of Bardet in seventh place.

Aru now leads Froome by six seconds with nine stages left, culminating with the ceremonial ride into Paris on July 23.

“I just didn’t have the legs on the final [kilometer],” Froome said. “The race is certainly on now.”

The Brit Froome is trying to move within one Tour title of the career record of five shared by Jacques AnquetilEddy MerckxBernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

But now Froome has relinquished the yellow jersey for the first time to a general classification contender in his six Tours.

The 27-year-old Aru, in his second Tour, will wear it for the first time in Friday’s Stage 13, adding to his collection of race leader jerseys from the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

Aru won the 2015 Vuelta, has finished second and third at the Giro and was 13th in his only previous Tour in 2016.

“It’s one of the most beautiful things that can happen to you in life, wearing the yellow jersey,” Aru said, according to The Associated Press. “Clearly, it won’t be easy to defend it.”

TOUR: Results/Standings | Highlights | Broadcast Schedule

Tour de France Overall Standings
1. Fabio Aru (ITA)
2. Chris Froome (GBR) — +:06
3. Romain Bardet (FRA) — +:25
4. Rigoberto Uran (COL) — +:55
5. Dan Martin (IRL) — +1:41

Friday’s stage is the shortest mountain day in Tour history, half the length of Thursday’s trek into the Pyrenees.

Riders face three category-one climbs on the 63-mile day, with a 16-mile descent to the finish on Bastille Day, when French riders are always motivated to go for stage wins.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold coverage starts at 7:30 a.m. ET.

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MORE: 10 Tour de France riders to watch

Green Bay Packers pull another Olympic sport TD celebration

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We’re halfway to a decathlon of Olympic sport touchdown celebrations over the last two seasons.

After the hurdles, the long jump, the bobsled and the relay came the race walk on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, once part of a three-man bobsled team, led three other teammates in a race walk after scoring in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. (Adams later left the game with a concussion.)

Adams won the race walk, which was much, much shorter than the standard Olympic distances of 20km and 50km, over teammates Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

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Canada in control of hockey rivalry going into Olympics

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Four years ago, the U.S. women’s hockey team rode a four-game winning streak over rival Canada into the Olympics, then lost both games in Sochi, including a gut-wrenching overtime final.

This time, Canada goes into the Winter Games having won four straight.

The Canadians beat the Americans 2-1 in overtime in Edmonton on Sunday night, taking their pre-Olympic series 5-3 overall.

“I don’t think it was our best performance,” Canada coach Laura Schuler said. “There’s still more work to do.”

The Canadians were led by their stalwarts — captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored in regulation, Sochi gold medalist Jennifer Wakefield scored 26 seconds into overtime and longtime goalie Shannon Szabados stopped 34 of 35 shots.

Hilary Knight netted the U.S. goal, with Maddie Rooney making 24 saves.

“The goal for us is to be hitting on all cylinders in February,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said.

The U.S. appeared to be in that kind of form until about two weeks ago.

Before this losing streak, the U.S. had a 12-4 record against Canada since the start of 2015, including taking the last three world championship finals.

At one point, the U.S. won six straight games over a 12-month stretch, its longest streak over Canada since it famously won eight straight going into the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics then lost the gold-medal game.

Canada also beat the U.S. in their last four meetings before the 2006 Olympics and five straight going into the 2010 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic team will be announced Jan. 1. The national-team roster is at 25 players (22 skaters, three goalies), but the Olympic roster is 23 (20 skaters, three goalies).

“Can’t live in the past, can’t live in the future, so tonight we were worried about this game,” U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said, according to the Canadian Press. “We weren’t looking ahead to February.”

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