Stressed Froome survives in yellow as Mollema wins stage

Isaac Cain
July 17, 2017

AG2R La Mondiale and their top challenger Romain Bardet did exactly that, with four of his team-mates increasing the pace on the grinding, narrow ascent, whilst Froome could only rely on three, Colombian Sergio Henao, together with Basques Mikel Nieve and Mikel Landa.

Mollema would subsequently attack from a much reduced front group with 27 kilometres remaining, and despite being chased by a quartet comprising Barguil plus Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates, Lotto Belisol's Tony Gallopin and Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo, he would hold on to win by 19 seconds. "I thought perhaps I wouldn't get back to the front".

In kph, the average speed of stage victor Bauke Mollema in the last 30km of the stage after the Dutchman went solo. Had he not been caught up in the crash which did for Richie Porte en route to Chambéry and lost 1min 15sec, the Irishman would have been an immediate threat to Chris Froome's yellow jersey; instead he is engaged in his own personal pursuit race, gaining time when the tiniest opening beckons.

Tour leader Chris Froome (Sky) admitted that he feared being unable to re-join the group of rivals after a spoke in his rear wheel broke with 38 kilometres to go after Bardet and his Ag2r-La Mondiale team begun riding hard. "Kwaitkowski gave me his wheel because the team auto was far away.We did all we could to return to the top of the race".

King of the Mountains (Polka Dot Jersey): Frenchman Warren Barguil (Sunweb) added to an nearly unassailable lead today in the competition for the race's best climber. Riders don't race like they're going for the Tour win.

The 30-year-old escaped from the remnants of a breakaway to claim his career first Tour stage triumph following a title bid at the Giro he finished seventh overall at this year.

But Ag2r, unlike Fabio Aru's Astana or Rigoberto Uran's Cannondale-Drapac, demonstrated that they are capable of potentially putting Froome in the red.

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He was seen being berated by Sky sports director Nicolas Portal following Thursday's 12th stage in the Pyrenees after Froome had cracked on the short, steep, final climb to the finish.

"I've got to thanks my team-mates yet again for helping me".

A sprint specialist, Kittel has now won 14 Tour de France stages in five appearances at cycling's showcase event, a record for a German rider.

Team Sky survived a "sticky moment" when Chris Froome suffered a bike problem Friday.

"This morning he was three minutes back so when someone's further away in the standings they're given more space (to get away)".

And once again, as he had done previous year, Team Sky's Froome proved he has the panache to glean time wherever there is an opportunity to do so.

"It was a great outcome for us, Mikel Landa really put in an fantastic ride today and we wanted him to come back into the GC game", said the reigning champion. "I think he has made the right moves at the right times".

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