(Reuters) – Fabio Aru looks tired and Team Sky should try and finish him off in Sunday’s 15th stage of the Tour de France after the Italian surrendered the yellow jersey to Chris Froome on Saturday, three-times champion Greg LeMond said.
Aru was far from the front of the peloton when they reached the bottom of the final climb, a 600-metre effort at an average gradient of 9.6 per cent, and lost a massive 24 seconds to Froome.
Froome now leads Aru by 19 seconds and third-placed Romain Bardet of France by 23.
“It looked like Aru was suffering he had no team mate around him,” LeMond said in his daily chat with Reuters. “It looks like he is tired and the team is not doing good either.
“Aru was way back coming into the last 2km, I couldn’t believe he wasn’t up front. He lost quite a bit of time for nothing.”
Aru, however, could be happy that he does not have the pressure of wearing the leader’s jersey.
“The pressure is off now that he does not have the yellow jersey. The yellow jersey does something to you. It’s a lot of requests,” said LeMond.
The yellow jersey holder has an obligation to go through a mixed zone and to hold a news conference after the stage, the whole process usually taking at least an hour.
Aru, however, remains a formidable opponent with next week’s Alpine stages suited to his climbing abilities.
But Sunday’s 189.5-km effort through the Massif Central will be hard to control and team work should be crucial. With key team mates Jakob Fuglsang and Dario Cataldo out of the race injured, Aru is more exposed than Froome or Bardet.
“If I was Sky and I saw Aru today, I would go right from the gun tomorrow and see what happens,” said LeMond. “There is one climb right away so I’d go with Michal Kwiatkowski, Mikel Landa and Chris Froome and see what happens.”