Chris Froome retains yellow jersey at Tour de France

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Astana rider Fabio Aru admitted he had been caught out of position as he lost the yellow jersey to Froome on Saturday.

Dutchman Mollema attacked from the remnants on the breakaway in the closing stages of the 189.5 kilometre ride from Laissac-Severac L'Eglise to take his first career Tour win. Michal Kwiatkowski stopped and gave me his wheel because the team vehicle was far behind'. Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao pulled him back, and Mikel Landa dropped back from the speeding GC group with Bardet and his teammates.

I hope to keep the yellow jersey until the time trial in Marseille.

He has backed up well at the Tour, though with a different set of objectives, and is 24th overall at 34min 50sec behind Froome.

"When Froome had his mechanical, Bardet should not have had his team mates working, it should have been him, Aru and Uran, if you want to win the Tour". Bardet lives and trains in the area and knows the roads well.

"I just did not have the legs on that day, but I'd like to think that I've bounced back after two consecutive really hard days", said Froome. "I really thought that that could be the yellow jersey changing shoulders again".

"UCI cycling comms have a cry over taking water from a spectator but turn a blind eye to teams riding on the back of the tv moto??" he tweeted.

Instead of what riders call a "transition" day, with a comfortable run to the gateway to the Pyrenees mountains, Stage 11 proved to be a brutal experience for some of the top riders after a series of crashes left them nursing cuts and bruises. "They are all late in their 20s or early 30s".

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This year's race has shown that big time gaps over a single stage are nearly impossible to gain amongst the leaders, meaning they must seize every opportunity that comes along, no matter how small.

"Sometimes it takes a bit of time when someone punctures, it takes a bit of time to get organized, find out what's going on".

Froome quickly found himself distanced due to a positioning error but made it back quickly with the help of his Sky teammates.

I prefer to be ahead on GC at this point than having to make up time.

By his own admission, Froome "just didn't have the legs" on the last of four climbs at the end of the 214.5 km slog that took almost six hours to complete and which has thrown the general classification wide open with a week still to go.

"Kwiatkowski did a great little job, something off the bike instead of on the bike as he has been doing".

"It's thanks to my team-mates for dropping out of that front group and helping me to get back, especially Mikel Landa who dropped out of the front group in the last kilometre there to help me get back".