Sky survives 'sticky moment' for Froome's yellow

Statistic, quote and fact of the day after the 15th stage of the Tour de France, a 189.5-km ride from Laissac-Severac L'Eglise on Sunday.

The stage itself, a hilly trek through the Massif Centrale, was won by Holland's Bauke Mollema, going solo 30 kilometres from the finish.

France's Romain Bardet of AG2R La Mondiale won the stage with Aru third, two seconds in arrears, and Froome seventh, another 20 seconds adrift.

Matthews, who beat Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet in the sprint to claim his second stage win at the Tour, said he'd targeted the stage win all year, and trained specifically for the last climb.

With just six stages left before the three-week race reaches the Champs-Elysees, only 29 seconds separate the top four riders in the general classification.

"I heard that Chris Froome had been abused at times during yesterday's stage". "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]".

And Froome, who was seventh on the stage one sec behind the victor, said: "It's great to be back in yellow".

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"It would have been really helpful to have done this before and to have been in this situation but suddenly you're in the spotlight and it's weird and something you thought you'd look forward to but in reality I'd much go under the radar and be able to do a bike race and not the other stuff that comes with it". After Chris Froome lost his overall lead to Fabio Aru, the team has worked hard to get it back for him. Stage 17 and the ascent at Col du Galibier will begin the return to the Alps on Wednesday, before Stage 18 ends on the Col d'Izoard, marking the first time a Tour stage has finished on this climb, per Cycling Weekly. I need things to go my way, I need people not to get in lucky breakaways and this little bug I've got can't develop into anything.

The Monaco-based rider, 32, added: "It's all thanks to my team-mates that I got the jersey back and special thanks to Michal Kwiatkowski who was superb all day".

Expect Froome to maintain his lead in the GC ahead of the mountains. "I think it's great that the fans are getting so into it and involved".

And having seen its tactics work this time, Sky is already planning its next move to put Froome back in the yellow jersey he held for seven days before Aru took it - with Landa as the team's new joker.

"It's really awesome, I'm so happy to win a stage at the Tour de France", Mollema said.

Froome had lost the jersey to Aru in the opening Pyrenean stage, but normal service resumed on Saturday when he was the first of the overall favorites over the line.

"That was extremely stressful, panic stations really". "The time I made up today could be very vital".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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