Froome lauds team-mates after reclaiming Tour lead

Updated: 

Chris Froome heaped praise on his Sky team-mates, most notably Michal Kwiatkowski, after he regained the race lead on stage 14 of the Tour de France.

The 181.5-kilometre route from Blagnac to Rodez, which featured in the 2015 Tour and climaxes with an uphill sprint finish, saw the peloton strung out and Fabio Aru paid the biggest price as he lost the yellow jersey.

Astana failed to show the same cohesion as Sky, with Aru seeing a six-second lead turn into an 18-second deficit, while Michael Matthews crossed the line first.

"We did this two years ago and we saw some pretty big time gaps there with Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Sagan going over the line," said reigning champion Froome, who was surprised to recover the maillot jaune he lost after stage 12.

"We knew there were going to be time gaps - but I didn't expect that. It's incredible to be back in yellow, especially after a tough day in the Pyrenees a couple of days ago. To bounce back like this now feels amazing.

"I've got to thank the team. The only reason I'm back in yellow is because of the way they rode that final. Always at the front, it meant that I was out of trouble and had the best lines through the corners. It meant that I got to that last climb and had the legs to be able to follow those front guys.

"[Kwiatkowski has] been just amazing, this whole race. Everything we've asked of him he's done it - and more. Today again, in the last few hundred metres he was shouting on the radio, 'You've got a gap, you've got a gap, push forward, all the way!'. It's such a great feeling.

"I'm not going to be safe until I reach Paris. As we've seen, each day has had surprises. The time gaps are so small, as we expected they would be in this year's Tour, so really at this point we're just fighting for every second we can."

Stage 15 takes in the 189.5km leg from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, while Monday brings a hard-earned rest day.