Wednesday 26 July 2017

Martin gets high-five after daring attack

Froome took a quick wheel change from Michal Kwiatkowski before Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao helped pace him up the climb. Photo: Getty Images
Froome took a quick wheel change from Michal Kwiatkowski before Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao helped pace him up the climb. Photo: Getty Images

independent.ie Sportsdesk

Chris Froome survived a scare to retain the yellow jersey as Daniel Martin trimmed the gap and climbed into the top five in the Tour de France general classification.

Dutchman Bauke Mollema took the first Tour stage win of his career after attacking from the remnants on the breakaway in the closing stages of the 189.5km ride from Laissac-Severac L'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay.

Martin attacked the GC group on the final descent and managed to stay clear to claw back 13 seconds, enough to move up one place and reduce the gap to the Team Sky leader to 1 minute and 12 seconds.

"I think it works in my favour that there are so many guys close on GC They look at each other and I am a little further back. They are not wary of me, but I am closer now," said Martin, who is still trying to claw back the 1 minutes 15 seconds he lost on stage 9 after getting caught up in Richie Porte's crash.

"I knew it was downhill to the finish, I thought if I go and get a gap then it would be difficult to get back for them. I took the opportunity, saw the opening and went."

Froome had needed a wheel change when the race was approaching the Col de Peyra Taillade, and lost almost a minute before spending eight kilometres chasing his way back to the group of main contenders.

But the three-time Tour winner held on and retains his lead of 18 seconds over Italian Fabio Aru, with Frenchman Romain Bardet a further five seconds down in third place.

Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team had upped the pace as the category-one Peyra Taillaide - the penultimate climb of the day - approached with around 40km left, and had already distanced Froome once before the Team Sky man was forced to pull over.

Froome took a quick wheel change from Michal Kwiatkowski before Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao helped pace him up the climb.

"I had a problem with my rear wheel that had to be changed," Froome said. "Kwaitkowski gave me his wheel because the team car was far away.

"We did all we could to return to the top of the race. Thanks to my team-mates, Sergio Henao and Mikel Nieve, who helped me. It was a time of stress.

"I thought I might not see the lead again."

Nicolas Roche, who was part of the 25-man breakaway, finished sixth.

Irish Independent

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