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Mollema secures stage 15 victory at Tour de France

17 July, 2017, 16:26 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Froome could not respond when Aru kicked past him with about 300m to

Rodez: Australian Michael Matthews won the 14th stage of the Tour de France yesterday as Chris Froome retook the yellow jersey from Fabio Aru.

With Romain Bardet's AG2R team pushing the pace, a mad 20-kilometer chase ensued as Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka and Sergio Henao helped pace Froome back to the group, and the three-time champion made contact 3 kilometers before the summit of the first-category Col de Peyra Taillade, just over 30 kilometers from the finish.

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.

It looked like a missed opportunity for Froome's rivals as they could not capitalise on the effort he had spent making his way back over some of the steepest sections of the climb - hearing boos from the strongly pro-Bardet crowd as he went. Stage victor Bauke Mollema was named most aggressive rider of the day and will wear a red bib number during Tuesday's stage. 'I thought maybe, I wouldn't be able to get back up to the front, that it could be the yellow jersey changing shoulders again.

Froome, a three-time victor of the Tour, remains 18 seconds clear of Astana's Italian rider Fabio Aru. I've worked for it so hard in the last few years. As he was losing time and seeing his lead slipping away, he traded wheels with teammate Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) and lost less a minute of time. If things stay as they are, Froome's lead, coupled with his strength in Marseille, should be enough to secure victory.

Meanwhile, Mollema of The Netherlands picked up his first win Tour de France stage win with his pace-pushing ride. Aru is just 18 seconds behind Froome while Bardet is behind only 23 seconds.

"It's a big loss for me and the whole team", admitted Aru, who had already seen another team-mate in Dario Cataldo crash out on Wednesday.

"Crisis adverted? I think so, but I wouldn't say crisis".

GC leader Chris Froome's Team Sky had no intentions of bringing the large selection back, as the highest-placed rider within the move, Damiano Caruso (BMC) was over 11 minutes down.

It's really incredible. I'm so happy to win a stage at the Tour de France.

Landa entered the Giro as a co-leader at Sky. A late surge from Martin saw the Quick-Step Floors rider climb to fifth, ahead of Landa. "After the last ascent, I noticed how exhausted everyone was and how they kept looking at each other, so I said to give it a try".

The big name to lose more time was Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who came in 46th place and at 10m 19s.

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