After two repeat stages in 10 and 11 that saw the same victor and same Yellow Jersey wearer, with Marcel Kittel and Chris Froome each taking the respective honors in two straight mornings, Thursday switched things up a bit.
"I dedicate this jersey to my teammates, who have been doing everything to help me", said Aru, whose lieutenant Jakob Fuglsangm, fifth overall in the morning, slipped down the rankings after starting the 214.5-km stage from Pau with a fractured wrist following a crash on Wednesday.
Today's (Friday's) short, punchy stage through the Pyrenees will now see Froome and Sky looking for chinks in Aru's armour.
In the general ranking of this Tour, completely revived, Aru above now Froome of 6 seconds and Bardet 25 seconds.
It was a first career Tour stage win for Barguil, who has been out of form after he was one of six members of his team struck by a auto during a training ride in January 2016. Instead, Froome struggled badly as first Aru, resplendent in the green, white and red of Italian national champion and then Bardet charged away.More news: Magnitude 4.2 quake strikes near Cushing, Oklahoma, oil storage hub
"It was such a hard last climb but I'd already done similar ones in the Vuelta (a Espana) so I was prepared", sad Aru.
"It's more enjoyable. We've been at this race for so long where all we do is defend, defend, defend, defend. It depends what he agreed to, most likely that he is a lieutenant for Chris Froome and if that's the case he should be loyal", said LeMond. Now that Froome has shown signs of weakness, the attacks could come right from the start as his rivals look to build on the momentum.
The two are locked into a ding-dong battle, and though BMC's Roche expects Team Sky star Froome to maintain a strong push for glory, Aru's emergence has impressed the Irishman.
"Aru attacked a bit too early to win the stage, but he got the jersey and saw that Froome can be beaten". But today's stage was a pretty good appetizer: a French rider winning a stage, on Bastille Day, in the polka-dot jersey.
"We've lost the yellow jersey by some seconds, so it's not a disaster, but it still hurts", said Sky sports director Nico Portal.
Peter Sagan was disqualified from the Tour de France after colliding with Mark Cavendish during stage four, which resulted in Cavendish's injury and later he was taken to the hospital for further examinations.