Chris Froome retook the Tour de France overall lead from Fabio Aru as Australian Michael Matthews won Stage 14 on Saturday.
Froome, eyeing his fourth Tour title, finished seventh in Saturday’s stage, one second behind Matthews. Aru was 30th, 26 seconds behind Matthews.
The top 30 or 40 riders finished in a group strung out enough that Tour organizers counted time gaps rather than giving all cyclists in the peloton the same time.
Froome came into the day six seconds behind Aru after ceding the lead to the Italian on Thursday. Now, he leads by 19 seconds over Aru with seven stages remaining.
The top four in the overall standings are separated by 29 seconds. It has turned into the tightest yellow jersey battle in Tour history.
“It’s still so close between the main rivals,” Froome said. “Every second here is worth really fighting for. … I expect it’s going to be a war again tomorrow.”
Froome has an advantage over the 2015 Vuelta a Espana winner Aru in his supporting cast. Team Sky is clearly stronger than Aru’s Astana, which is lacking star Jakob Fuglsang, who abandoned Friday due to a broken wrist.
- Chris Froome (GBR) — 59:52:09
- Fabio Aru (ITA) — +:19
- Romain Bardet (FRA) — +:23
- Rigoberto Uran (COL) — +:29
- Mikel Landa (ESP) — +1:17
Sunday’s Stage 15 is 118 miles with four categorized climbs, but none of the most difficult variety.
NBC Sports Gold coverage starts 6:55 a.m. ET, with NBCSN coming on air at 7.
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