What they said after Tour de France Stage 15: Bauke Mollema, Chris Froome, Dan Martin and more
By Velon Media Team , 16 Jul 2017

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) - first place

“Yeah really it’s amazing, I’m so happy to finally win a stage in the Tour de France, I just can’t believe it you know, it’s finally what I’ve worked so hard for the last few years. I’ve been close a few times and this year I really wanted to go for a stage, that was a big goal for me, and yesterday I knew this was a chance.

"In the beginning of the stage … it was close because it was a strong breakaway with 10 guys and a lot of teams wanted to block the road so we couldn’t pass, and yeah the break it took like one-and-a-half minutes … and my team-mates finally got to the front - [Michael] Gogl and Koen de Kort, we kept the speed in the peloton and on the first climb I just went full gas.

"I was pulling the whole climb already, trying to bridge to the first guys. Finally we made it with 25 guys, and I was there in the breakaway which was the first goal, and finally I felt good and I gave it a try in the last 30kilometres and I think I never did so long ride riding alone, but in the end it was close. It’s amazing. The Tour has always been the most important race for me, it’s always been my dream performing here, so I’m incredibly happy."

Chris Froome (Team Sky) - yellow jersey

“Never a dull moment in this year’s Tour, that’s for sure. Just coming into the main climb of the day I had a bit of a mechanical problem, I had to change the back wheel, and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time really. It was all hands on deck.

“My team-mates were fantastic again. Kwiato stopped to give me his wheel and the rest of the guys sat up, helped me as much as they could on the climb, and then Mikel Landa just dropped out of the front group to pace me back in over the top of the climb there. I’m hugely grateful that they did all that and managed to keep me in the front group.

“The whole team has been great. Christian Knees and Luke Rowe, from the very beginning, they did the lion share of today’s stage on the front, just controlling things.”

"Dan Martin made a good move to get off the front there and get a few seconds back on some of the guys but all in all I’m just happy to have got through today without any major losses and I think everyone will be looking forward to tomorrow’s rest day.

“I’ll pass out tonight - I’m knackered!” Quotes courtesy TeamSky.com

[Second Froome interview]

"It [the mechanical] was a stressful moment. I wasn’t sure if I’d get back on again.

"AG2R rode their race and rode fast. Just before the climb I had a problem with my back wheel, it was damaged. [Michal] Kwiatkowski gave me his wheel because the team car was stuck behind. I gave it my maximum to get back up to the leaders.

"I’ve got to thank my team-mates yet again for helping me. Sergio Henao and Mikel Nieve gave their maximum. [Mikel] Landa too. He helped me a lot on the climb."

"It's up to my rivals to attack me. They have to gain time before time trial. For now I’m just happy to have the jersey and to have a rest day tomorrow."

Mikel Landa (Team Sky)

"We waited a little bit [for Froome]. He was with Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao, I was in the first group and when he was closer I just waited a little bit … we came back together. We spoke a little bit about how to control the other contenders - because it was the first time we were together, and we had to save the day. I was in the first group so I always let them [the team] know how things were going … we stayed calm and saved the day very well."

Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors)

"To quote Tom Boonen, you don't need a plan, you just need ... No, I very rarely make a plan. You know, it's just opportunities. When Simon Yates attacked on the climb, I saw everybody was on the limit, and after the downhill, everybody kind of stalled, so ...

"I was a bit afraid because there were so many team-mates left. There was one AG2R guy and [Mikel] Landa was there for Chris [Froome] . I knew it was a lot of downhill to the finish, so I knew if I got a gap it would be difficult to come back. So yeah I took advantage of the opportunity, I saw the opening and went."

Asked how he would approach the final week, Martin added: "With tired legs I think - we'll take it day-by day, you normally you see bigger gaps in the final week - I'm sure it's not going to be one minute between the top six in Paris. We'll keep concentrating, and keep focused, and hopefully it's not me that has a bad day."

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) - third place

“Congratulations to Mollema for his performance. He was the driving force in the breakaway and he was very strong on the climbs of first category. Together with Barguil, Roglic and Ulissi, we did everything we could to catch him, but it was almost an impossible task. I had already finished second behind Mollema in the Clásica San Sebastián, so I knew it wouldn’t be easy to catch him.”

“It is unfortunate that I couldn’t sprint for the first place, but I think that this was the maximum for me. I am still feeling well in the Tour after fifteen stages. That gives me a lot of courage for the second week and I hope to follow-up this performance.”

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) - 11th

“We used a lot of energy already in the first hour of the race to form the breakaway. This group of 28 became smaller along the way until a point when Tony Gallopin and I were left in a group of eight riders. Bauke Mollema placed his attack at a surprising moment in the race, but his solo ride was really impressive. On the fourth category climb, I set the pace to keep the gap as small as possible. This was forTony Gallopin, as he was stronger than me.”

“I think this was the highest result possible for me and I think everyone finished according to their strength. The riders who have finished several Grand Tours in the past, like Gallopin or Ulissi, have more power than me on such moments. I hope that there will be some more chances in the third week for Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin or for me."

Quotes courtesy LottoSoudal.be

Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)

"It was definitely a very hard day, a very interesting day - we started right from the start, we raced pretty aggressively trying to get Diego [Ulissi] in the breakaway … yeah I just stayed with most of the favourites, but the last 50km and the last climb we were also racing in the back. I managed to stay with the front group - I also tried a little bit but I didn’t really get away. There’s only five days left to do something, but the Izoard day there some big differences [time gaps] and definitely the Galibier is going to be a very hard day."

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