15th stage of the Tour de France: Mollema victor in solitaire

Getty Images

Getty Images

Chris Froome reclaimed the overall lead on the Tour de France after he left Italian Fabio Aru trailing in a punchy finish of the 14th stage, a 181.5-km ride from Blagnac on Saturday. On that occasion though, the rider in third place, Samuel Sanchez, was two minutes off the lead. But the French have been [going] so well [with] the stage wins and Bardet fighting for the win.

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. It's a shame I got second place but I performed to my maximum.

"Uran is more of the dark horse who slips under the radar but he is the strongest time-trialist of the group of riders (challenging me)", said Froome, who believes he timed his peak of form well. "Yates attacked on the climb [after Froome rejoined the group] ... he kind of stalled and I was a bit afraid ... there were many teammates left [of other riders] ... an Agr2r rider and Landa was there for Chris [Froome]". But Cilic netted a return there, beginning a run of 17 points in a row won by Federer on his serve.

"He's a real threat now for the overall title in Paris", Froome said.

Nearly bookended by two first-category ascents, and with a third-category and fourth-category climb closer to the start and finish, respectively, there will be plenty of opportunity for breakaways to make their moves. But Sky promised they won't be caught off guard.

Tour de France: Marcel Kittel claims fifth victory in stage 11
But Lotto Soudal's Andre Greipel, Cofidis's Nacer Bouhanni, and Katusha's Alexander Kristoff will certainly do their best. The stage took the peloton on a flat, 178-kilometer (111-mile) run from Perigueux to Bergerac in southwestern France.

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

"I'm certainly feeling the pressure", Froome said in his post-stage 15 press conference. I think the team managed pretty well. Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao pulled him back, and Mikel Landa dropped back from the speeding GC group with Bardet and his teammates. "I'm so happy to win a stage at the Tour de France".

"That's not really Rigos's mentality, he is a kind of all-in guy", Vaughters said. The race for the win was well ahead of us. But I expect some more aggressive racing in the Alps. Froome has showed a vulnerability this year that we haven't seen in the past, and his rivals - especially Ag2r La Mondiale - have showed a willingness to target that vulnerability.

TALY'S FABIO ARU is far from the best-known name in the Tour de France peloton but that is changing fast now that he is wearing the Maillot Jaune as race leader. The race for yellow is still incredibly tight and with two hard days in the mountains to come, just about anything can still happen.

The AG2R-La Mondiale leader has ridden very aggressively, and although alliances are a bit of a fantasy, Uran could possibly join him in trying to overthrow Froome, as the Colombian is something of an all-in type of rider. They did so much for me. In the break, he soaked up top points on both of the Category 1 climbs and has a 78-point lead (116-38) over second-placed Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo, who is not known as a climber.

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