Froome does not deserve to be booed, says Bardet

Mollema This is what I worked years for

"It's clear we have to move on those two days in the Alps - we have high hopes for those two stages", said Jurdie.

"I'm certainly feeling the pressure", Froome said in his post-stage 15 press conference. But the Team Sky leader recovered in style two days later, when Aru was trapped at the back of the peloton in Rodez. He lost touch with the leaders in the sharp ascent of the Cote de Saint Pierre and crossed the line 25 seconds behind stage victor Michael Matthews. He finished hot on the heels of Matthews.

"We are teammates, not rivals", Landa said.

Froome said he had no explanation for Aru's breakdown.

"The head is what guides you, but if the body doesn't respond, it doesn't respond", the dejected Colombian said. "We had crosswinds the whole day, we needed to be up front all the time to avoid the splits". Not Fabio's favorite ground. He turns 36 on August 8, making the father of four the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open era.

Froome, who had a six-second deficit at the start of the stage, is enjoying an 18-second advantage over Aru, who is paying for the weakness of his Astana team.

The three-time champion retains an 18-second lead over Aru, while Bardet is a further five seconds back. Trailing 55 seconds behind Froome in the general classification, Rigoberto Uran remains in contention and Fuglsang is still within reach of the podium, 1:37 behind the yellow jersey. "But that he was going to be 29 seconds behind? No".

"Obviously, now if he wins, everybody thinks it's a great - it was the best - decision", coach Severin Luthi said about the more recent time off. He thanked his teammates for their essential role in keeping him at the front, allowing him to pounce on the final climb while Aru was stuck.

"I thought, 'Oof. That was close, '" Kittel said of Bodnar's effort. "There are gaps everywhere!"

"It was a nervous day", Froome said of the crashes.

"If it had been a mountain top finish maybe it would have played out differently". "It's going to be every second, at this point - every second all the way until Paris". "But I made it!"

Another factor is the vulnerability Froome has shown in this year's race. In the three Tours he won, he had the race all but wrapped up at this point.

Romain Bardet on Monday hit out at French fans from his home region who jeered Tour de France leader Chris Froome.

"I had a pretty bad start to the tour when I crashed", said Rowe. Froome says Uran will be the man to watch out for in the time-trial more than the others, though.

It was the second consecutive win for the Sunweb team, after Warren Barguil's victory on Friday, Bastille Day.

The day's main drama occurred some way behind the battle for stage glory, following an early breakaway on the 189.5km route from Laissac-Severac l'eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay that was followed by Tony Martin (Katusha) initially making a solo push. The thrillingly tight grouping at the top promises vigorous battles between them in the last week of racing.

Team Sky's Froome had a mechanical problem 50km from the end of the stage just as Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale team was pushing the pace on the front of the peloton.

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