Mollema secures stage 15 victory at Tour de France

Flecha breaks down stage 14 summit finish

Bauke Mollema beat UAE Team Emirates' Diego Ulissi to win Stage 15 of the Tour de France to Le Puy-en-Velay, as Chris Froome survived a scare to retain the yellow jersey.

Froome lost nearly a minute due to a damaged wheel before the climb of the Col de Peyra Taillade, presenting general classification rivals Fabio Aru (Astana) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) with a great opportunity.

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.

The three-time Tour victor broke a spoke on his rear wheel just at the moment that Romain Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team had upped the pace on the approach to the imposing climb. By finishing in that leading pack well ahead of the likes of Aru and Froome, Landa clawed back valuable time in the overall standings, giving Sky an intriguing card to play in coming stages.

"I was trying to get some seconds there".

For Froome, Mikel Nieve's huge effort got him within 100m of the GC group, but Ag2r-La Mondiale kept the hurt on as Froome - being booed by the French crowds - was left to bridge across himself.

"I knew it was a lot of downhill to the finish, so I knew if I got a gap it would be hard to come back", Martin said.

"We did all we could to return to the top of the race". I'm grateful [teammate Michal] Kwiatkowski stopped, and all my teammates paced me, even Mikel Landa [now sixth overall] dropped back and paced me. The yellow jersey, distanced 45 seconds by his direct opponents, and managed to regain his place in the group of the favorites before the summit of the pass.

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"I was really busting the whole race and the only time I could really find to stop and have a piss was on the climb".

"It's really no surprise, as this week has been brutal", said Martin.

"We've always battled, we've been there and you don't lose quality overnight", said the Movistar team leader. "I think he has made the right moves at the right times".

The Polish rider went all out, using his time trial skills to resist the peloton's pursuit as long as possible. It was close to the chases at the end.

The German Tony Martin, alone in the lead, has stumbled on the very steep slope of Peyra Taillade, the collar of the first category, is located before the last 30 kilometres.

"It's a dream come true", said Matthews, whose Team Sunweb claimed their second stage wins in as many days after Frenchman Warren Barguil claimed stage 13 on Bastille Day.

Nairo Quintana's bid for Tour glory this year looks to be over after he cracked on the Peyra Taillaide and tumbled out of the top 10.

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