After avoiding disaster, Froome ready to tackle Alps in close Tour

Kristopher Drake
July 17, 2017

After the setback, the fightback.

Chris Froome's closest rivals missed a unique opportunity to win the Tour de France after the defending champion was dropped off the favourites' group at a critical moment in Sunday's 15th stage, according to three-time champion Greg LeMond.

Mollema was able to revel in his first stage win, after timing his attack perfectly on the descent of the Col de Peyra Taillade, but Lotto Soudal's Tim Wellens was an early casualty on Sunday's stage as he abandoned.

The race will head towards the Alps after Monday's rest day, with stages on Wednesday and Thursday potentially decisive before Saturday's time trial in Marseille.

Froome said he had no explanation for Aru's breakdown.

Martin rode well on the day's climbs on the 189.5 kilometre stage to Le-Puy-en-Vale and, as he did two days ago, launched a strong attack inside the last few kilometres. "Personally, if I was one of them, I would have gone flat out, no team mates left", the American said.

"It's incredible", said Barguil, who has recovered remarkably quickly from a pelvis fracture in a crash in April. I've had a hard day in the Pyrenees but I feel much better now. "I could sit up and enjoy the win in the Tour de France".

Contador accelerated first in the final sprint, but Barguil reacted immediately and adeptly negotiated the last U-bend on a bridge over the Ariege river, holding off Quintana to the line.

"I think in the end it will be probably be one of the tightest Tour de Frances [sic.] for general classification we've seen in a long time", White predicted.

But the three-time Tour victor held on and retains his lead of 18 seconds over Italian Fabio Aru, with Frenchman Romain Bardet a further five seconds down in third place. "(Now on) it will be all hands on deck because it will be a war".

The Italian said there won't be a next time that he gives Landa such freedom to escape. I had to get back by the top of the climb. "From now he won't get so much room". When Froome hared away on downhills, Aru quickly followed in his wheels.

Friday's stage saw the Birmingham-born rider close the gap by a further nine seconds on the likes Aru and Chris Froome. The Colombian Rigoberto Uran, the first to jump in the wheel of Bardet when the French attempted a start, it is distanced only 29 seconds. But Sky promised they won't be caught off guard.

Bennett said he felt the weight of expectation the most when he slipped outside the top 10 after the short 101km stage from Saint-Girons to Foix. "I used my experience".

"Everybody was on their limit on the last two climbs".

Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team had upped the pace as the category one Peyra Taillaide approached with 40km left, and had already distanced Froome once before the Team Sky man was forced to pull over.

"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.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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