'I couldn't really pedal': Fabio Aru on the moment he had to use a Tour de France neutral service bike

The Italian lost time after a mechanical meant he had to ride the Mavic neutral service bike

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Italian Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) "couldn't really pedal" but took a Mavic neutral service bike to continue in the Tour de France.

In stage three Épernay, the Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) with the yellow jersey had been dropped. Aru, at that time, suffered a mechanical when George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) rode into his rear derailleur

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"Yeah, it broke the whole derailleur and it was impossible to ride ahead," Aru told Cycling Weekly.

"I jumped on the Mavic bike. Usually, Rui Costa has more or less the same frame size, so I can use his bike, but he was near Dan Martin at that time."

Fabio Aru rides a Mavic neutral service bike o stage three of the 2019 Tour de France (JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Mavic stopped with its distinctive yellow bikes, this year they are Canyon frames. Aru jumped on, but could only ride for two kilometres.

"That bike! I had to get on the Mavic bike right away because of the barrage holding off the team cars because the yellow jersey had been dropped," Aru continued.

"It was working somewhat for me, but the saddle was way too high for me to really continue. I couldn't really pedal!

"I've had to do this before in other races. The only thing is that if the saddle's a little too low, you can still pedal and ride, but if it's too high, you can't go! It's hard to do ride."

The UAE Team Emirates car quickly arrived with another Colnago bike for Fabio. He switched and continued. With the change, he finished 1-22 minutes back on stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and 51 seconds behind the group of classification riders with Geraint Thomas (Ineos).

Former Vuelta a España winner Aru, 29, has only just returned to racing after missing the Giro d'Italia to have surgery for a constructed iliac artery in his leg. He raced at the Tour de Suisse before starting the Tour, where he will likely support Irishman Dan Martin to a high placing in the overall.

Martin sits 1-22 back on the yellow jersey after losing time in the stage two team time trial in Brussels.

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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.