Federer into 11th Wimbledon final; faces Cilic for 8th title

Federer into 11th Wimbledon final; faces Cilic for 8th title

His front brakes damaged, he crashed again on the perilous descent of the Mont du Chat and finished that ninth stage 1:15 behind Froome, his helmet smashed. His timing was again flawless and those behind stalled momentarily, enabling him to move clear.

All the key protagonists for the overall race finished together, around six minutes behind Mollema, with riders further back in the general classification scattered in between.

The Australian sprint star was in a 28-man breakaway group with less than 40 kilometres to go in Sunday's 15th stage when he succumbed to the urge to urinate.

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.

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. "I said before the start it would be good if a Frenchman won".

STRONG FINISHING KICK: Irish rider Dan Martin moved up from sixth to fifth in the overall standings by powering ahead of the leaders' group in the final stretch. If either Landa or Froome tries zooming off ahead of him, Aru will have to chase them both or risk losing his yellow jersey. But I made it.

The debate over rider etiquette is interesting and Le Mond's view that riders should race, no matter what, has surprised a few people.

In kph, the average speed of stage victor Bauke Mollema in the last 30km of the stage after the Dutchman went solo.

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Roche was pleased with his ride, not least because he has had several quiet stages.

Chris Froome rescued his Tour de France hopes after they had looked to be disappearing into the ravines and gorges of the Massif Central yesterday.

"This one was no different".

"I thought I might not see the lead again". At some stage we even had Greg Van Avermaet and Danilo Wyss with us, so we nearly had six in that group.

"At this stage you can go insane about focussing on the top 10 and lose track of the process so I'm just trying to do the best bike race I can every day and see what naturally happens".

But by then AG2R's brown and blue cohorts were flagging too in the huge 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.

The race resumes on Tuesday with a stage sure to favour sprinters. Martin is still recovering from last Sunday's crash and expects that his sensations will continue to improve as time passes.

As was the case before the race, his goal is to end up on the podium in Paris. The peloton will be going through some brutal muscle strains before the rest day as this course has gradients up to 14% and a summit above 1000m of altitude with 31km more to conquer.

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