The defending race champion was gapped on the penultimate climb of the 189.5km stage to Le Puy-en-Velay, a renowned religious site when his spoke broke and Romain Bardet’s AG2R La Mondiale team simultaneously upped the pace.
“That was extremely stressful. It was panic stations. I really thought that could be the yellow jersey changing shoulders again after today’s stage, so very, very grateful to my teammates for getting me back to the front of the race,” Froome said.
“It was almost as if I had to attack just to get back to the front group. I had to go very deep. I had to, I had no option. It was that or I didn’t go over the climb with the favourites.”
Froome was unequivocally complimentary of his Sky teammates including Michal Kwiatkowski, who he initially swapped wheels with, and Mikel Landa, who dropped from fifth to sixth overall in part due to an attack from Dan Martin (Quick-Step), in south-central France.
“I’m grateful I was able to get back to that front group because that was a really critical moment of the race,” he said.
The second rest day will provide exactly that for Froome ahead of the final week of what is being considered the closest Tour in recent history with just 29 seconds separating the top four on general classification.
“They all emptied themselves to get me back into the race. We spent everything to try and get me back to that front group again, and just over the top Mikel Landa also dropped out of that front group to help me that last 100m to get back in. It’s thanks to them I’m still in yellow this evening," Froome said.