Tour de France: Chris Froome feared yellow jersey loss yet again

The Coach The day for Boasson Hagen

Chris Froome survived another scare in the Tour de France yesterday, his race lead emerging intact after an explosive finale to stage 15 among the volcanoes of the Cantal during which a damaged rear wheel almost cost him the yellow jersey.

Dutchman Bauke Mollema won the stage after a courageous solo break on a lumpy 190km stage from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay.

"That was extremely stressful, panic station", said Froome after the 15th stage that was won by Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).

Meanwhile, Chris Froome bounced back an early mechanical failure to pursue French rider Romain Bardet and hold on to the yellow jersey ahead of Italian Fabio Aru.

The three-time Tour victor broke a spoke on his rear wheel just at the moment that Romain Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team had upped the pace on the approach to the imposing climb. Just before the climb, I had a problem with my back wheel, it was damaged.

He battled back on, but nearly immediately had a mechanical issue, depriving him of the services of Michal Kwiatkowski, who gave his rear wheel to his team leader.

As a result, Martin gained 14 seconds on the race leaders and rose from sixth overall to fifth at 1m 12s.

"His strong point is he's very strong will-powered and Dan definitely believes he can win it, which he should do, because a couple of years ago (in 2014) if there weren't the two crashes (Froome and Alberto Contador), then (Vincenzo Nibali) wouldn't have won", added Roche, who believes circumstances could always give his nephew a chance.

Michal Kwiatkowski turned mechanic by removing his back wheel and fitting it onto colleague Froome's bike, rather than wait for a Team Sky auto.

Aru is now 18 seconds behind Froome with Romain Bardet at 23sec and Rigoberto Uran at 29sec in one of the tightest yellow jersey battles in years.

Froome was keen to thank all of his team-mates for their help, but it was the sight of Landa dropping back which was most notable.

Nairo Quintana's bid for Tour glory this year looks to be over after he cracked on the Peyra Taillaide and tumbled out of the top 10. You get shepherded back in. Mikel Landa (Spain / Team Sky) +1:17'; 7.

Tour de France cycling hero George Bennett has found the energy to take a shot at race officials for allowing riders to slipstream off TV motorbikes.

"I was really busting the whole race and the only time I could really find to stop and have a piss was on the climb".

With six stages to go, including a time-trial at Marseille's Velodrome and the processional finish in Paris, Martin has realistically just two mountains stages in the Pyrennes to force his way onto the podium in Paris.

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



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