Tour de France 2017: stage 15

Monday, 17 Jul, 2017

Dutchman Mollema attacked from the remnants on the breakaway in the closing stages of the 189.5 kilometre ride from Laissac-Severac L'Eglise to take his first career Tour win. By recovering from the misfortune, Froome takes the yellow jersey and an 18-second lead into today's rest day, the last of two at the Tour, ahead of a crucial last week of racing in the Alps.

Team Sky's Dave Brailsford said Chris Froome's mechanical problem on stage 15 could have ended his challenge, but the team reacted perfectly to the crisis.

Mollema was able to revel in his first stage win, after timing his attack perfectly on the descent of the Col de Peyra Taillade, but Lotto Soudal's Tim Wellens was an early casualty on Sunday's stage as he abandoned.

Bardet is third overall in this year's Tour, 23 seconds behind race leader Froome, having finished as runner-up to the Briton last year.

"It couldn't have come at a worst time".

Landa is now sixth overall, 1:17 behind Froome, but despite his work as a domestique, the Spaniard has made a big impression in the mountain stages, beating his leader in the finish in Peyragudes last week.

"I was in the first group, so I always let them (the team) know how things were going". "I'm very grateful for my teammates doing the work to help me".

All in all I am just happy to have got through without any major losses. Certainly the speed was probably at the highest point of the race, coming in to the foot of that last climb.

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In the Pyrenean mist late on Thursday afternoon Chris Froome climbed on to the Team Sky bus. "For a guy who's doing so well in the classics and capable of winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Lombardy, and Fleche Wallonne, which he hasn't yet (second in 2014 and 2017) but he will some day, I'm sure, to come here to the Tour and riding for GC, very few riders can say that", added Roche. My wheel wasn't straight anymore so I think it was a broken spoke but I'm not sure.

Brailsford said: "I'm much happier if the Tour de France is not settled by time penalties".

"I am feeling better and better as the race goes on".

The big loser of the day was Colombia's Nairo Quintana, who dropped out of the overall top 10.

Quick-Step's Marcel Kittel still leads comfortably here courtesy of his five stage wins, but Sunweb's Michael Matthews is taking full advantage of the lumpy stages across the Massif Central to bite into Kittel's lead.

Martin got up, dusted himself down and got to the finish of that ninth stage, but 1min 15sec behind Froome and other overall contenders.

It left the LottoNL-Jumbo rider 6 minutes 39 seconds behind general classification leader Chris Froome. "There were attacks, people tried to attack me several times but I responded every time". After he switched wheels, he relied on his teammates in what he called an "extremely stressful" moment.