A day on the Tour de France

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There is still a week to go in the Tour de France but race leader Chris Froome insisted that "every second counts" after surprisingly reclaiming the yellow jersey.

Tour de France 2017, Stage 15 begins on July 16th, 2017 at 7:30 AM EST from Laissac-Sévérac-l'Église and covers a distance of 189.5 km ending in Le Puy-en-Velay.

As they hit the final climb, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) also started to suffer and was soon on the back of Froome's chasing group and then spat out again.

"I really thought that could be the yellow jersey changing hands again", Froome said.

"I had a problem with a broken back wheel, my team auto was stuck behind so I had to take a wheel from Michal Kwiatkowski", Froome said afterward.

But by then AG2R's brown and blue cohorts were flagging too in the vast heat, and Froome - ignoring some boos from what appeared to be a few fans on the climb - could, at last, latch onto the back end of the group.

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.

"If someone blows in those few hundred meters, there could be some really significant time gaps", the Team Sky leader said.

Two-time champion Alberto Contador went down twice, while second-place Fabio Aru lost one of his Astana teammates when Dario Cataldo was forced to retire with a broken wrist after a crash in the feed zone midway through the stage.

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A well-earned day of rest for the tired riders ahead of next week's six concluding stages.

"If I didn't get back in I wouldn't expect to be in yellow any more this evening".

Froome was keen to thank all of his team-mates for their help, but it was the sight of Landa dropping back which was most notable.

The defending champion came seventh, one second behind stage victor Michael Matthews of Australia as Aru, who started the day with the yellow jersey on his shoulders, lost 25 seconds to the Briton in the final effort, a 600-metre climb at an average gradient of 9.6 per cent.

Landa, who is out of contract at the end of the season and is reportedly being courted by Team Sky rival Movistar, stands sixth overall - just 77 seconds behind Froome. "I think he has made the right moves at the right times".

Britain's Simon Yates, who retained the white jersey for the best young rider and sits seventh overall, admitted to trying to eke out more of an advantage before tomorrow's rest day.

As the Tour de France enters its final week, the 2,500-mile race is coming down to nerves and seconds, which makes Daniel Martin's current strategy of some interest.

Sky sent Froome's teammate, Mikel Landa, racing off ahead on the first climb in a quick succession of three tough ascents.

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