Mollema solos to stage victory, Froome shaken not stirred

Statistic, quote and fact of the day after the 15th stage of the Tour de France, a 189.5-km ride from Laissac-Severac L'Eglise on Sunday. By recovering from the misfortune, Froome takes the yellow jersey and an 18-second lead into today's rest day, the last of two at the Tour, ahead of a crucial last week of racing in the Alps.

He is now one minute and 12 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky), 54 seconds behind second-placed Fabio Aru (Astana) and 49 seconds adrift of Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).

Bauke Mollema wins stage 15 while Chris Froome manages to hang on to the leader's yellow jersey after breaking a spoke on his rear wheel on Sunday.

They were joined just before cresting the final climb by the counter-attackers, eventual stage victor Warren Barguil and Nairo Quintana, and stayed ahead on the 27km descent to the finish.

But the Frenchman, instead of making a big effort himself, along with Italian Fabio Aru and Colombian Rigoberto Uran, stayed in his team mates' wheels, eventually allowing Froome to come back.

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But by then AG2R's brown and blue cohorts were flagging too in the huge heat, and Froome - ignoring some boos from what appeared to be a few fans on the climb - could, at last, latch onto the back end of the group.

"There is a lot of trust, no doubt, no question", Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford said after the stage when asked about Landa's ambition.

"All the the guys helped me as much as they could, and I'm hugely grateful". It was nearly as if I had to attack just to get back.

Uran remains fourth but closed in to 29sec off the lead, with Martin also gaining six seconds and now at 1:26 in sixth, just behind Froome's Sky team-mate Mikel Landa at 1:17.

Frank, who finished eighth at the Tour in 2015 when riding for IAM Cycling, said that he hasn't detected any flaws in Froome, but is optimistic that he and his team can put the Brit's yellow jersey under threat. With the Spaniard struggling apart from a strong ride on the stage to Foix, Trek have lowered their sights to getting in breakaways and targeting stage wins.

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"I thought I might not see the lead again".

"When the pace went up [by Ag2r], that's when I had the issue".

Dan Martin is on course to record the best finish of an Irish cyclist in the Tour de France since his uncle Stephen Roche won the race in 1987.

You know who's in the top 10 overall, but what about the race's other competitions? He struggled badly on Thursday's Pyrenean stage, falling out of overall contention and when he was dropped early on Friday by the peloton, he chose to call it quits.

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. I panicked a little bit, it was a bit of a stressful moment. But I made it!

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