Tour de France - Aussie Michael Matthews wins stg 14
Australia's Michael Matthews won stage 14 of the Tour de France in a thrilling uphill sprint ahead of Greg van Avermaet, while Brit Chris Froome regained the yellow leaders jersey in Rodez holding a slim 6 six second lead.
Stage fourteen of the Tour de France took riders along 181.5 kilometres from Blagnac to Rodez, with two categorised climbs and an intermediate sprint before an uphill kick to the finish.
Four riders jumped free from the peloton inside the first ten kilometres, with another rider later bridging across to join the front of the race. As the break went clear, Team Sunweb immediately set the pace at the front of the peloton ensuring the breakaway’s advantage never took more than a three minute lead.
Inside the final thirty kilometres the break were just one minute thirty ahead of the peloton with the team sharing the workload on the approach to the finish. As the peloton thinned, Michael Matthews remained in a good position tucked inside the bunch. The breakaway were brought back with twelve kilometres to the finish, in time for the fireworks on Rodez.
Almost as soon as the break was caught three riders went clear with Nikias Arndt jumping across to keep an eye on proceedings. The quartet extended their lead to fifteen seconds but the peloton were quick to chase them down. A stellar performance from Team Sunweb saw Matthews delivered to the uphill finish in optimum position and he was able to finish off the team’s fantastic 180 kilometre effort to seal Team Sunweb’s thirteenth Tour de France stage victory.
“I’m super happy to get the win for the team today,” explained Matthews after the finish. “We were all really focused even though there was a lot of pressure and expectations. The team have worked so hard for the whole Tour de France so for us to take two in a row is incredible and we couldn’t ask for anything more. The dedication from everyone shows how motivated they are and how much they believe in the same shared goal. We’ve prepared and worked so hard hoping to take the win today and we’ve done it, it’s a really special victory for us all.”
Team Sunweb’s Tour de France coach Aike Visbeek said: “We knew from the beginning that today would be a big chance for Michael and the team and we knew that it was our responsibility to take control. The team had a long, hard day ahead of them but they handled it really well. In the final Michael still had two from the team with him and he finished it off perfectly. It’s an incredible team victory and a reward for everybody’s hard work.”
Stage 14 result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus/Team Sunweb) 4hrs 21mins 56secs
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel/BMC) Same Time
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Team Dimension Data) +1sec
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step Floors) Same Time
5. Jay McCarthy (Aus/BORA-hansgrohe) Same Time
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) Same Time
7. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) Same Time
8. Daniel Martin (Ire/Quick-Step Floors) Same Time
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Cannondale-Drapac) Same Time
10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +5secs
General classification after Stage 14:
1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 59hrs 52mins 09secs
2. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +19secs
3. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +23secs
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col/ Cannondale-Drapac) +29secs
5. Mikel Landa (Spa/Team Sky) +1min 17secs
6. Daniel Martin (Ire/Quick-Step Floors) +1min 26secs
7. Simon Yates (GB/Orica-Scott) +2mins 02secs
8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +2mins 22secs
9. Louis Meintjes (SA/UAE Team Emirates) +5mins 09secs
10. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) +5mins 37secs