15th stage of the Tour de France: Mollema victor in solitaire

Mollema would subsequently attack from a much reduced front group with 27 kilometres remaining, and despite being chased by a quartet comprising Barguil plus Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates, Lotto Belisol's Tony Gallopin and Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo, he would hold on to win by 19 seconds.

Martin started Sunday's 15th stage in sixth at one minute 26 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome.

Aru was the big victor in Peyragudes, where he took the yellow jersey for the first time after Froome cracked in the last 500 meters of the stage.

Ahead of tomorrow's rest day, AG2R-La Mondiale used the 189.5-kilometre stage from Laissac-Sévérac l'Église, raced on Romain Bardet's home roads in the Auvergne, to put Froome under pressure.

"Uran is more of the dark horse who slips under the radar but he is the strongest time-trialist of the group of riders (challenging me)", said Froome, who believes he timed his peak of form well.


"I learnt a lot from past year and how I rode", he said of his ninth paced finish in 2016.

And Froome, who was seventh on the stage one sec behind the victor, said: "It's great to be back in yellow". "I'm very grateful for my teammates doing the work to help me". After Chris Froome lost his overall lead to Fabio Aru, the team has worked hard to get it back for him.

Martin realises he is posing a greater threat overall as each day passes, saying: "I will just keep concentrated and focused Hopefully it is not me who has a bad day".

"Everybody was on their limit on the last two climbs".

"It's stuff that I never really thought of could drain from you but it does". In Peyragudes, his lethal acceleration earned him the stage win.


Froome himself experienced similar frustration when he seemed stronger than his leader Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Vuelta and in the mountains of the 2012 Tour de France, being similarly ordered by his team directors to slow the pace and wait for the yellow jersey. My wheel wasn't straight anymore so I think it was a broken spoke but I'm not sure. I need things to go my way, I need people not to get in lucky breakaways and this little bug I've got can't develop into anything. His rivals are now smelling blood, especially with two other big names - Spain's Alberto Contador and Colombian Nairo Quintana out of contention.

But on the ramp in Rodez he turned his six secs deficit into an 18 secs lead over Italy's Fabio Aru who gave up the coveted maillot jaune with a whimper.

The very next day he joined Alberto Contador in a breakaway and gained nearly two minutes on his own team leader by the finish, moving up to fifth overall, just over minute back.

"Kwiatkowski is sharp, super sharp, and I guarantee he'd have made the call and he did well", Brailsford said. After he switched wheels, he relied on his teammates in what he called an "extremely stressful" moment.



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