Le Puy-en-Velay (France) – Bauke Mollema won the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday in a solo breakaway to Le Puy en Velay as Chris Froome retained the leader’s yellow jersey.

Diego Ulissi was second at the end of the 189.5km mountainous stage from Laissac-Severac l’Eglise in the Massif Central ahead of Tony Gallopin in third.

But reigning champion Froome had to survive a worrying moment when he suffered a mechanical problem in the last 50km that saw him drop 50 seconds behind his main rivals as he had to take team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski’s bike to continue.

A mad chase ensued as Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka and Sergio Henao helped pace Froome back to the group, the three-time champion making contact 3km before the summit of the first category col de Peyra Taillade just over 30km from the finish.

The 32-year-old Briton crossed the line alongside most of his main rivals to maintain his 18 second lead over Italian Fabio Aru, with Romain Bardet of France third at 23sec.

© AFP Lionel BONAVENTURE Netherlands' Bauke Mollema celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France on July 16, 2017

© AFP Lionel BONAVENTURE – Netherlands’ Bauke Mollema celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France on July 16, 2017