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Stressed Froome survives in yellow as Mollema wins stage

17 July 2017

The field will want to savour the flat start awaiting them on Sunday, essentially the only piece of neutral terrain they're liable to encounter in a stage that's replete with rolling hills and steep climbing.

Chris Froome kept the leader's yellow jersey despite breaking a wheel as Bauke Mollema won the 15th stage of the Tour de France Sunday in a solo breakaway. From seventh overall at the start of the stage, Landa is fifth, just 1:09 behind Aru. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) was back at his aggressive best.

The race now takes a break before recommencing on Tuesday.

Team Sky's Froome had a mechanical problem 50km from the end of the stage just as Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale team was pushing the pace on the front of the peloton.

And so a tantalising final "week" of the Tour awaits. Eight players are just separated by 2:22 seconds with seven stages left. Frenchman Bardet stays in third, 23 seconds behind, while fourth-placed Colombia rider Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale trails Froome by 29 seconds. It's not since 2008 that we've had so many riders so close to yellow after 15 stages.

You can watch Tour de France 2017 on FuboTV live online.

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"I'm not thinking about the time trial", Bardet said. But Cilic netted a return, beginning a run of 17 points in a row won by Federer on his serve. His narrow, 18-second lead this year is certainly due, at least in part, to the limited number of mountain-top finishes this year, but that's not the full story. He also hasn't been able to ride away from his rivals (uphill or downhill) with the same apparent ease he did in the past. This is the biggest win of my career so far.

Now, the rest of the tour is Froome's for the taking. The stage suits those who prepared in high-altitude given two-thirds of the race is above 1,000 meters. "Who would be happy with any less?"

The collective strength of the Sky Team was on display Sunday when Froome was forced to change his rear wheel in the final 40 kilometres and got dropped. But Sky promised they won't be caught off guard.

The Team Sunweb rider, 26, said: "When we finished here two years ago, I had four broken ribs and skin off all over my body from a crash". I think the team managed pretty well.

Froome himself is not expecting it to be an easy battle in the days that remain.

Ireland's Dan Martin pedaled away on a flat section after the descent to gain 12 seconds on Froome and the other favorites.

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"We did the maximum to get back to the head of race. And if you believe, you can go really, really far in your life, and I did that", Federer said.

"I think it works in my favour that there are so many guys close on "GC".

"It's magical, really", Federer said.

"It's really awesome. I'm so happy to win a stage at the Tour de France", said 30-year-old Mollema, who has finished in the top 10 of the Tour three times but had never before won a stage. "That comes naturally to some people but it wasn't something I looked forward to, especially with this stupid water bottle penalty where everyone is looking for a story and trying to put words in your mouth about the rules being rigged for the French".

Sunday's 189.5km stage is perhaps the most lovely on this year's race, which organisers believe will showcase "exceptional landscapes that highlight the charm of France" as it passes through the stunning Massif Central mountain range.

"I didn't see any weaknesses in Froome today".

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Stressed Froome survives in yellow as Mollema wins stage