Tour de France 2017 stage 15: Chris Froome holds onto yellow after surviving a scare

 
Oliver Gill
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Netherlands' Bauke Mollema solo attack netted him his first Tour de France stage victory (Source: Getty)

Race leader Chris Froome survived a scare on a gruelling 15th stage of the Tour de France.

The three-time Tour winner and defending champion punctured at a critical moment and was forced to work hard to ensure he finished with his main rivals.

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

Froome said: "Well there's never a dull moment on this Tour. I had to change my back wheel and it couldn't have come at a worse time.

"All the the guys helped me as much as they could, and I'm hugely grateful. They managed to do all they could to keep me in the front group."

Read more: Froome's back in yellow after outfoxing Aru

Rival Frenchman Romain Bardet’s AG2R team upped the pace on the penultimate climb of the day as Froome suffered a mechanical problem.

Froome added:

All in all I am just happy to have got through without any major losses. I'm going to pass out tonight. I'm knackered.

All the key protagonists for the overall race finished together, around six minutes behind Mollema, with riders further back in the general classification scattered in between. Froome sits 18 seconds ahead of second-placed Fabio Aru.

Britain’s Simon Yates, who retained the white jersey for the best young rider and sits seventh overall, admitted to trying to eke out more of an advantage before tomorrow’s rest day.

“I was trying to get some seconds there. The race for the win was well ahead of us. I tried to sneak away to get a few seconds," he said.

Read more: Froome: I was rammed off road by hit-and-run driver

“It didn't work but I gave it a go. I couldn't have gained a lot anyway. Just a few seconds. But every second is going count.”

Stage result

RANK RIDER TEAM TIMES GAP
1 MOLLEMA BAUKE TREK - SEGAFREDO 04H 41' 47''
2 ULISSI DIEGO UAE TEAM EMIRATES 04H 42' 06'' + 00' 19''
3 GALLOPIN TONY LOTTO SOUDAL 04H 42' 06'' + 00' 19''
4 ROGLIC PRIMOZ TEAM LOTTO NL - JUMBO 04H 42' 06'' + 00' 19''
5 BARGUIL WARREN TEAM SUNWEB 04H 42' 10'' + 00' 23''
6 ROCHE NICOLAS BMC RACING TEAM 04H 42' 47'' + 01' 00''
7 CALMEJANE LILIAN DIRECT ENERGIE 04H 42' 51'' + 01' 04''
8 BAKELANTS JAN AG2R LA MONDIALE 04H 42' 51'' + 01' 04''
9 PINOT THIBAUT FDJ 04H 42' 51'' + 01' 04''
10 PAUWELS SERGE TEAM DIMENSION DATA 04H 42' 51'' + 01' 04''

General classification

RANK RIDER TEAM TIMES GAP
1 FROOME CHRISTOPHER TEAM SKY 64H 40' 21''
2 ARU FABIO ASTANA PRO TEAM 64H 40' 39'' + 00' 18''
3 BARDET ROMAIN AG2R LA MONDIALE 64H 40' 44'' + 00' 23''
4 URAN RIGOBERTO CANNONDALE DRAPAC 64H 40' 50'' + 00' 29''
5 MARTIN DANIEL QUICK - STEP FLOORS 64H 41' 33'' + 01' 12''
6 LANDA MIKEL TEAM SKY 64H 41' 38'' + 01' 17''
7 YATES SIMON ORICA - SCOTT 64H 42' 23'' + 02' 02''
8 MEINTJES LOUIS UAE TEAM EMIRATES 64H 45' 30'' + 05' 09''
9 CONTADOR ALBERTO TREK - SEGAFREDO 64H 45' 58'' + 05' 37''
10 CARUSO DAMIANO BMC RACING TEAM 64H 46' 26'' + 06' 05''