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Tour de France 2017: stage 15

17 Juillet 2017

Le Puy-en-Velay: Chris Froome survived an attempted coup by Romain Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale team in a treacherous 15th stage to retain the Tour de France overall leader's yellow jersey on Sunday.

"But to do two Grand Tours a year - one of them fighting for GC and maybe the other one going for stages - I think that's something I would like to do in the next couple of years".

Bennett finished 32nd, 6min 25sec behind Dutch stage victor Bauke Mollema, with several of his rivals finishing ahead of him. "That's what we saw I think today with Quintana losing a lot of time again, so that's a really hard combination".

'I panicked a little, ' said Froome, who clawed his way back to keep his 18-second lead.

With less than 30 seconds covering the top four in the general classification, Froome saw his race lead slipping away as Sky team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski frantically switched the rear wheels on their bikes.

They were joined by a further 18 riders as the race reached the second of four climbs of the day, which came with almost 100km remaining.

In the closing kilometres to this town on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim trail, Martin was the only one of the magic circle immediately behind Froome to gain the slightest amount of time, once Romain Bardet's attempt to put the race leader under pressure had been snuffed out.

Overall, Aru's lead on Froome remained unchanged at six seconds. That means the Italian will have to watch both Sky riders, not just Froome, like a hawk in the last week of racing before the July 23 finish in Paris. "I will try again to get a victory".

Froome is wary of such a scenario and said he expects his Sky team to control matters far better than Astana did on Friday's short but thrilling 13th stage won by Frenchman Warren Barguil on Bastille Day. "And I'm happy I kept on believing and dreaming, and here I am today for the eighth". With the way Froome and Team Sky are riding now, it's going to take a team effort to give someone else a shot at the overall lead. Landa stayed at the front when the incident happened, but he waited for his leader when it became obvious the three-time champion was able to come back.

The Colombian Nairo Quintana, already struggling in the big Pyrenean stage on Thursday, has been dropped in Peyra Taillade.

All in all I am just happy to have got through without any major losses.

I prefer to be ahead on GC at this point than having to make up time. "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]".

Tour de France 2017: stage 15