Bennett holds firm at Tour de France

Marie Harrington
July 17, 2017

He managed to carry the yellow jersey in to the Tour de France's second and final rest day.

Froome sits just 18 seconds clear at the top of the general classification, ahead of Aru.

By finishing fourth in that leading pack that sped in almost two minutes ahead of a chasing group that included the Tour's top four riders overall - Aru, Froome, French rider Romain Bardet and Colombian Rigoberto Uran - Landa clawed back valuable time in the overall standings. Colombian Rigoberto Uran is fourth six seconds further back.

"Never a tiresome moment in this year's Tour, that's for sure", said Froome.

Landa is now sixth overall, 1:17 behind Froome, but despite his work as a domestique, the Spaniard has made a big impression in the mountain stages, beating his leader in the finish in Peyragudes last week.

Froome has the strongest team and remains the favourite to win in Paris, despite some rare signs of weakness.

It's unlikely the sprint specialists in the field will be figuring to lead anywhere other than the stage's final phases, with the combination of steep climbs in quantity playing more to the strengths of the mountain climbers.

"They've ridden a lot together". If Froome is in form, he will be untouchable.

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Froome needed a wheel change approaching the Col de Peyra Taillade, and lost nearly a minute before an 8km chase back to the main contenders.

"If I didn't get back, I wouldn't expect to be in yellow this evening", Froome said. My wheel wasn't straight anymore so I think it was a broken spoke but I'm not sure.

He took a quick wheel change from Michal Kwiatkowski before Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao helped pace him up the climb. For everything he's accomplished, for all of the bright lights and big settings to which he's become accustomed, the guy many have labeled the "GOAT" - Greatest of All Time - admits to feeling heavy legs and jumbled thoughts at important on-court moments to this day. In danger of losing the coveted leader's jersey, he did not panic while Bardet, Uran and Aru failed to join forces at the front. "If I end up 11th it's not a bad result but it seems to different to 10th".

"One minute you're in there and ripping it and next minute you're out of the top 10 and people are wondering what's going on", he said, having fallen down to 12th place at the Tour de France after stage 15.

Here is a look at the other contenders ahead of Tuesday's Stage 16 that will lead the peloton to the gateway to the Alps in Romans-sur-Isere.

The one-day classics specialists had the stage victory in sight but sprinter Matthews stayed on their wheels on the last climb and outsprinted Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet, who ended up second two years after winning a Tour stage that ended in Rodez.

Froome had lost the jersey to Aru in the opening Pyrenean stage, but normal service resumed on Saturday when he was the first of the overall favorites over the line.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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