RODEZ, France (AP) — Fabio Aru was dropped in the last 500 meters of Stage 14 of the Tour de France won by Michael Matthews and relinquished the yellow jersey to Chris Froome on Saturday.
Aru lost touch with the leaders in the final short, sharp ascent of the Cote de Saint Pierre in the town of Rodez and crossed the line 25 seconds behind Matthews.
Froome, who trailed Aru by six seconds at the start of the stage in Blagnac, was well positioned at the front and had no problem tackling the final climb.
He finished hot on the heels of Matthews and leads Aru by 18 seconds overall.
"It's a beautiful surprise today," said Froome, who lost his jersey in the Pyrenees after enduring a bad day on the road to the ski station of Peyragudes.
"I need to say thank you to my teammates who rode at the front in the final 10 kilometers. In the final climb we made a big difference on other favorites. Every second counts at this Tour."
Frenchman Romain Bardet lost four seconds to Froome, crossing the line five seconds behind the winner. He was third overall, 23 seconds back.
Matthews said he'd targeted the stage win all year, and trained specifically for the last climb.
He described his emotions crossing the line as "disbelief." He was so assured of victory that he sat up at the end and cruised over the line.
"I've been dreaming of winning like that since I started cycling," he said. "I could sit up and enjoy the win in the Tour de France. It's not every day that can happen."
While the Team Sky train hit the front in the final kilometers, Aru was at the back and could not make it to the front before the peloton split in the climb.