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Summary

  1. Bauke Mollema wins stage 15 in breakaway
  2. GB's Chris Froome retains leader's yellow jersey
  3. Froome catches rivals after rear wheel change
  4. Froome maintains 18-sec lead over Fabio Aru
  5. Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay
  6. Hilly 189.5km route

Live Reporting

By Patrick Jennings

All times stated are UK

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Right then. That's it from me for today. If you're just joining in feel free to catch up on it all below.

Tomorrow is a rest day. Let's recuperate, get some fluids on board and go again for Tuesday.

The Alps are on their way...

'Never a dull moment! I'm knackered'

Chris Froome
Reuters

Chris Froome, speaking to ITV: "Well there's never a dull moment on this Tour. I had to change my back wheel and it couldn't have come at a worse time.

"All the the guys helped me as much as they could, and I'm hugely grateful. They managed to do all they could to keep me in the front group.

"Mikel [Landa] has been amazing throughout the whole tour, the whole team has been just amazing.

"All in all I am just happy to have got through without any major losses. I'm going to pass out tonight. I'm knackered."

'They were flying'

Dan Martin: "That was one of the hardest parts of the Tour so far. AG2R, they were flying, and everyone was already in the red.

"Chris is the only guy who could come back from a mechanical in that situation. They weren't taking advantage of the mechanical, but I'm happy he came back, because you don't want the Tour decided like that."

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist at the Tour de France

It didn't work for AG2R, but it certainly wasn't for a lack of trying. It was planned, Romain Bardet is local and knows the roads.

Froome looked like he was struggling to follow at first and then came the mechanical. After the wheel change was coming up behind but struggling to get back on the lead group, so Landa dropped in and shepherded his team leader back up. They worked so well.

About half a minute it took to change Froome's wheel. When you consider the pace of that blistering attack from Romain Bardet's AG2R, it is quite something to think he managed to reel himself back up alongside his yellow jersey rivals.

No wonder he's got a grin on his face. He proved something huge today.

His lead over Fabio Aru remains at 18 seconds then. Bardet is 23 seconds behind, Uran 29 seconds. Dan Martin moved up to fifth, one minute and 12 seconds behind Froome.

Tomorrow is a rest day. My word Chris Froome and his Team Sky colleagues have deserved it.

Froome is about to pull on a fresh yellow top.

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Jonatan L: As team leader, how many technicals has Froome had right around an attack in TdF? Feels like a lot.

Chris Holdstock: If Landa is not a GC contender at the next TDF there is something wrong with the world, phenomenal athlete!

'We stayed calm'

Mikel Landa: "All the team did a nice work. Chris had a mechanical problem, we had a difficult moment but we worked like a team to save the day. Chris has a lot of experience and team-mates around him. We stayed calm and resolved the situation."

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist at the Tour de France

Chris Froome and Team Sky
AFP

Chris Froome and Team Sky did really well. They didn't panic in difficult circumstances. They all worked really well together, with Mikel Landa dropping back to help Froome out.

I don't think it'll be the last time we see AG2R try something like that.

Bauke Mollema, what a hugely deserved victory for him.

A quick word on Nairo Quintana, who only a few minutes ago crossed the line himself. That's him done then. There had been signs earlier here on the Tour, but really now it is plain as day.

I make it over six minutes now, the difference between him and Froome.

'Finally. I am so happy!'

Bauke Mollema
Reuters

Bauke Mollema: "It's amazing. I am so happy to finally win a stage in the Tour de France. This is what I have worked for in the past few years. I've been close. I knew this would be a chance for me.

"I just gave it a try in the last 30km. I think I never did so long riding alone, but I made it."

Chris Froome
AFP

So. It is as you were. Despite the attacks, despite having to dig deep into the energy bank, Chris Froome stays in yellow.

He jumps on the warm-down wheels.

Disaster very much averted.

Which I think he just about gets.

Chris Froome is over the line too. The whole group of big names in close pursuit.

And breathe, Chris. Tomorrow you've got a day off.

Martin started the day in sixth overall. Where would he be had he not collided with Richie Porte in that crash in the first week?

He crosses the line. He needs nine seconds to leapfrog Mikel Landa in fifth...

Mikel Landa is on the front of the Froome group, driving all the big GC rivals in pursuit of Dan Martin, who broke clear over the final climb in search of a few seconds.

But the real drama of this race has been playing out about six minutes back down the road.

Chris Froome has had to dig deep to defend his yellow jersey from some spectacular attacks - while contending with a mechanical issue.

His group will be finishing shortly.

Diego Ulissi crosses for second. Tony Gallopin is third. Primoz Roglic fourth. Warren Barguil settles for fifth.

BreakingMollema takes it!

Bauke Mollema
Reuters

Trek-Segafredo rider Bauke Mollema wins stage 15 of the Tour de France.

A superb solo effort on another intriguing stage.

Mollema's gap is widening further still!

He's now about 220m clear of the four men behind him.

ONE kilometre to go!

The gap is widening. Surely this is going to be Bauke Mollema's race.

213m clear.

TWO to go.

The four riders chasing Mollema - Warren Barguil, Tony Gallopin, Diego Ulissi and Primoz Roglic - are falling further back.

They're 140m behind him. About 30 seconds ago it was 86m.

THREE to go for the Dutchman.

At the front of the race, Bauke Mollema continues his quite brilliant solo move. Can he hold on for the stage win?

Just 5km to go...

An attack from Dan Martin now!

Forget the aching back, he zooms off into the distance. Not much of a coordinated response from Team Sky or AG2R. He'll be given the room.

Hang on, now Mikel Landa heads the group, overtaking AG2R at the front. There's a bit of a gap between him and Froome...

Landa reels Yates back in. But this feels more like a tactical move. A statement from Landa, like Froome made in the service of Bradley Wiggins.

"This is what I can do." In a year or two, maybe he'll get the chance.

Attack!

Simon Yates goes off the front of the Froome group. Froome and Landa are letting Bardet do the chasing.

Looks like Yates will eke out a few seconds here...

As the hunted Mollema streams through the echoing pain of his solo ride - 10km to go for the stage victory - Chris Froome, Romain Bardet and Fabio Aru are about to hit the bottom of the day's final climb...

Tony Gallopin, Diego Ulissi and Primoz Roglic went with Barguil. A strong group of four chasing down Mollema now.

They are 20 seconds behind the Dutchman.

That climb actually looked pretty tough. Will Froome have to work again? He must have been weakened...

Bauke Mollema's head is bobbing. Lactic acid is flooding up over his eyebrows as he looks to defend his lead. A naked man with a yellow baseball cap accompanies him up the final metres of the category-four Côte de Saint-Vidal.

Behind, Warren Barguil attacks again. Can he bridge that gap?

Mollema's lead is out to 52 seconds at the front of the race now.

The 14 riders behind him will look to grind as much of that back on the Côte de Saint-Vidal - plus the final stages of the race are quite technical.

White peace in the Froome group.

Team Sky
AFP

The other big news is Nairo Quintana. The Colombian Movistar rider is about a minute and a half behind the Froome group. He couldn't handle the pace at all.

Right then. We're all descending towards the category-four Côte de Saint-Vidal now.

Less than 17km to go for Bauke Mollema, who's in the clear on his own at the head of the race. He's about 26 seconds clear of the 13 riders behind him.

Then comes the group of the GC big guns. Chris Froome's yellow jersey is safe - for now - after an extraordinary reply to attacks from Romain Bardet's AG2R team.

They're about six minutes and 40 seconds behind Mollema.

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist at the Tour de France

Chris Froome and Mikel Landa
AFP

Chris Froome had to do a huge, monumental effort to get back into that group. It's a good job the descent is coming up. He can try and top up. He will certainly be happy we've got a rest day tomorrow after all that.

Mikel Landa looks to be the strongest rider in the race!

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Sam Levey: As Landa is clearly far stronger than Froome at the moment, is Froome about to get the same treatment he gave Wiggo in 2012?

Boom: Gotta love Mikel Landa - tireless Team man - effortless climbing style - surely a future Grand Tour winner.

Aelwyn Rees: That was an amazing recovery by Froome. Real yellow jersey effort. Exciting day of racing. AG2R had to do more.

What did we say earlier on? A predictable stage, just like yesterday was supposed to be?

Let's just drink some of this in.

Chris Froome has done brilliantly to reply to an extremely powerful and clever attack from Romain Bardet's AG2R team.

Despite a mechanical problem - that happened after the initial attack - the yellow jersey managed to survive up the category-one Col de Peyra Taillade, with the help of his impressive team-mates. Mikel Landa included.

It's almost all downhill from here...

TDf
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30km to go

Warren Barguil, content with his polka dot points, relaxes as Bauke Mollema darts into the lead on the stage.

But the real drama is back down the road - about six minutes behind the front of the race.

The big rivals for the overall victory are still climbing.

Romain Bardet fans hold out a sign
AFP

Back down the road, Bardet goes again, matched by Rigoberto Uran.

Chris Froome has to rally and chase them down. He closes the gap. There will be more attacks.

How many can he handle?

Back at the front of the race, Tony Martin's daring solo attack has been neutralised and Warren Barguil, King of the Mountains, is zooming his way up towards more points in the race for the polka dot jersey.

He crests first.

Back together.

Froome has done it. A seriously impressive effort to mark his main rivals for the yellow jersey. But how much has it cost him?

Froome and Landa pass the steepest section - and are greeted by a chorus of boos from the boisterous fans on the side of the road.

Aru and Bardet's group is in their sights...

Froome bridges to Mikel Landa, who has dropped down from Bardet and Aru's group to help his team leader.

No question of mixed feelings from Landa? We all saw his reaction on stage 12.

Team Sky have been massively caught cold by AG2R's suprise - and extremely effective - attack up this big, big climb. But the mechanical did not help either. That happened after the attack.