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

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

He started the day six seconds ahead of the three-time champion but, before yesterday's 15th stage, trailed Froome by 18 seconds after coming home 30th overall, 25sec behind stage 14 victor Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb.

"So we can't switch off for the next four days for one kilometre".

George Bennett has held onto 11th place in the Tour de France after a solid ride in a tricky 14th stage.

"To have that card to play to put teams under pressure with someone other than Froomey as a GC contender is a great position to be in", said Rowe. "I knew if I didn't get back to the group before the top of the climb, we could be looking at some pretty big losses - so it was critical".

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

For a full breakdown of the remaining stage schedule, visit the race's official website.

Like a hound chasing prey, Froome hared off after Romain Bardet, Fabio Aru and Rigoberto Uran - the three riders all within 30 seconds of Froome in the overall standings of the Tour that, after a ho-hum beginning, has become thrillingly close.

"We knew that after the climb it wasn't ideal for big attacks, so we had to really dig deep on the climb", said the Frenchman, who is third, 23 seconds back. On the steepest part of the climb Froome had to call back Landa from the group of a dozen favourites to ensure he regained contact.

"It's a handsome surprise today", said Froome, who lost his jersey after enduring a bad day on the road to the ski station of Peyragudes. Chris Froome (Sky) 64:40:21 2.

Earlier at the Tour, Froome's rivals had waited for the race leader to catch them back up when he suffered another mechanical problem, that one with his gears.

JOHN TREVORROW is a multiple Australian champion road racer and Olympian who has been doing media commentary at the Tour de France for more than 20 years.

I prefer to be ahead on GC at this point than having to make up time.

He was so assured of victory that he sat up at the end and cruised over the line.

The 189.5 km route from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay was perhaps one of the most demanding yet and came before the second rest day for the riders.

"We saw today that Landa did not hesitate, he did the right thing, he stayed in the front", Brailsford said.

And Froome, who was seventh on the stage one sec behind the victor, said: "It's great to be back in yellow". They'll need to continue to attack the Sky leader in the mountains, and hope that the defending champion has another bad day.

Aru was the man to take yellow from Froome in the Pyrenees, and he also impressed by winning on the first summit finish to La Planche des Belles Filles, only to give up the race lead when he faded badly on the finish to Rodez on Saturday.

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