Froome defies wheel drama to retain Tour de France lead

Froome defies wheel drama to retain Tour de France lead

After 15 stages, the peleton will enjoy their second rest day of the race, with Briton Chris Froome still wearing the yellow jersey, despite a mechanical drama today.

Froome had needed a wheel change when the race was on approaching the Col de Peyra Taillade, and lost nearly a minute before spending eight kilometres chasing his way back to the group of main contenders. Mikel Landa (Spain / Team Sky) +1:17'; 7.

The main group of contenders marked each other over the rolling final kilometres, but Irishman Dan Martin was allowed to pull clear with around eight kilometres left and claw back more time.

Cilic said afterward he developed a painful blister on his left foot during his semifinal Friday, and that affected his ability to move properly or summon the intimidating serves that carried him to his lone Grand Slam title at the 2014 U.S. Open, where he surprisingly beat Federer in straight sets in the semifinals.

With six stages to go, including a time-trial at Marseille's Velodrome and the processional finish in Paris, Martin has realistically just two mountains stages in the Pyrennes to force his way onto the podium in Paris.

The one-day classics specialists had the stage victory in sight but sprinter Matthews stayed on their wheels on the last climb and outsprinted Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet, who ended up second two years after winning a Tour stage that ended in Rodez.

"The race was in bits with Astana trying to control it", said Froome. Sergio Henao and Mikel Nieve gave their maximum.

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"I really like to fight for the general classifications and normally next year I will go back for the Tour to fight for GC".

Aru denied he'd made a mistake in letting Landa get away, despite seeing another rival gain time on him. "I saw everybody was on the limit, and after the downhill, everybody kind of stalled", he said afterwards.

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

"Ag2r-La Mondiale, with a numerical advantage, kept the pace high, however, and the gap to Barguil had closed to 6'40" as the Frenchman crested the summit with 32km to ride. "After the last ascent, I noticed how exhausted everyone was and how they kept looking at each other, so I said to give it a try". They look at each other and I am a little further back. "I knew that I can not give my best on the court".

Quntana had said on Thursday his decision to ride in May's Giro d'Italia had backfired as he had "no strength" in his legs.

"I think it works in my favour that there are so many guys close on "GC". "Maybe we can play the same way in the coming days".