Mollema claims stage, Froome re­tains yel­low jersey

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Le Puy-en-Ve­lay, France - Trek-Se­gafredo’s Dutch rider Bauke Mollema won the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sun­day in a solo breakaway to Le Puy en Ve­lay as Chris Froome re­tained the leader's yel­low jersey.

Diego Ulissi was sec­ond at the end of the 189.5km moun­tain­ous stage from Lais­sac-Sev­erac l'Eglise in the Mas­sif Cen­tral ahead of Tony Gal­lopin in third.

But reign­ing cham­pion Froome had to sur­vive a wor­ry­ing mo­ment when he suf­fered a me­chan­i­cal prob­lem in the last 50km that saw him drop 50 sec­onds be­hind his main ri­vals as he had to take team­mate Michal Kwiatkowski's bike to con­tinue.

A mad chase en­sued as Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka and Ser­gio He­nao helped pace Froome back to the group, the three-time cham­pion mak­ing con­tact 3km be­fore the sum­mit of the first cat­e­gory col de Peyra Tail­lade just over 30km from the fin­ish.

The 32 year old Bri­ton crossed the line along­side most of his main ri­vals to main­tain his 18-sec­ond lead over Ital­ian Fabio Aru, with Ro­main Bardet of France third at 23sec.

The big loser of the day was Colom­bia's Nairo Quin­tana, who was dropped on the Peyra Tail­lade climb and lost sev­eral min­utes by the fin­ish, drop­ping out of the over­all top ten.

Mean­while, Ire­land's Dan Martin was typ­i­cally abra­sive and launched an at­tack in­side the last 12km to gain a few sec­onds on the other chal­lengers. The 30 year old even snatched a place in the stand­ings, mov­ing above Froome's Sky team-mate Mikel Landa into fifth, now one minute 12sec be­hind Froome - Martin lost 1:15 a week ear­lier when taken out by a crash­ing Richie Porte on a haz­ardous de­scent.

Four men emerged as Mollema's pur­suers but they couldn't bridge the gap with Ital­ian Ulissi set­tling for sec­ond 19sec be­hind the win­ner, with Gal­lopin third and his French com­pa­triot War­ren Bar­guil, fourth at 23sec.

(AFP)

The Nether­lands' Bauke Mollema cel­e­brates as he crosses the fin­ish line at the end of the 15th stage in Le Puy-en-Ve­lay, France, on Sun­day

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