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Tour de France: Chris Froome believes his rivals are demoralised

Chris Froome, Tour de France, stage 15
Image: Chris Froome leads the Tour de France by 1min 47sec with six stages left

Chris Froome believes his Tour de France rivals are demoralised by the strength of his Team Sky team-mates.

Only Fabio Aru and Romain Bardet could muster attacks on a mountainous 15th stage containing six categorised climbs, but both were chased down by the outstanding Wout Poels as Froome comfortably retained his 1min 47sec overall lead.

Bauke Mollema, Adam Yates and Nairo Quintana - who are second, third and fourth in the general classification - all failed to put the yellow jersey under pressure and Froome thinks it is because they are too daunted.

Cool Froome retains lead
Cool Froome retains lead

Read how Chris Froome comfortably kept the yellow jersey on stage 15

He said: "Coming to the Tour, I said I was in a very privileged position because it was the strongest team that Team Sky ever sent to the Tour.

"With me, I have riders who would be leaders in other teams. Wout Poels is a Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner. I'm so grateful and fortunate to have team-mates like him.

Chris Froome, Tour de France, Wout Poels, Nairo Quintana
Image: Froome was brilliantly protected by Wout Poels (right) on stage 15

"It must be quite demoralising for other people to have to think of attacking knowing this calibre of riders will be chasing them down."

While his rivals waited, Froome launched a provisional attack of his own on the final climb of stage 15 but decided not to continue with it in order to save his strength for four back-to-back days in the Alps from Wednesday to Saturday next week.

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Tour de France standings

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He added: "Obviously, Bardet tried his move at the top, but I had the feeling that no one had the legs to make a difference.

"I accelerated to know who would follow me and I saw Nairo Quintana on my wheel quite quickly.

 "Maybe they are thinking of the Alps. For now I'm happy. I'm in a better situation than I expected at this point."

The Tour continues on Monday with a 209km 16th stage from Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne. Find out more about the route in our race guide and follow the action with our live blog from 1pm BST.

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