AUSTRALIA’S MICHAEL MATTHEWS claimed his first Tour de France stage victory in Revel today with Chris Froome holding on to the leader’s yellow jersey, just 19 seconds ahead of Ireland’s Dan Martin.
Briton Froome kept atop the overall standings, the defending champion coming home in the labouring peloton, where he was joined by third-placed Martin and his other rivals for overall honours, almost 10 minutes after the stage winner.
Matthews’s Australian Orica team played the day’s breakaway to perfection as team-mates Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey sacrificed themselves to help Matthews’s victory bid.
The 25-year-old pipped world champion Peter Sagan and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway at the end of the 184km 10th stage from Andorra to Revel.
Matthews was part of a six-man sprint finish in which Impey played a pivotal role, keeping the pace to the line high over the last 3km.
It allowed Matthews to tuck in behind Sagan and make the most of the Slovak’s slipstream to win the dash to the line.
He won comfortably enough to let go of his handlebars and lift his arms in celebration before crossing the line.Source: Francetv Sport/YouTube
It meant Matthews completed the full set of Grand Tour stage victories having won two at the Giro d’Italia and three at the Vuelta a Espana.
Sagan’s only consolation at finishing second on a Tour stage for the 17th time, against just five victories since 2012, was that he did enough to take back the sprinters’s green points jersey from Britain’s Mark Cavendish.
Ireland’s Sam Bennett, who was riding with a broken finger as he continues to recover from a heavy crash on stage 1, finished well down the field and remains the lanterne rouge, the cyclist in last place of the general classification.
Tomorrow’s stage will see the riders make the 162.5km trek from Carcasoone to Montpellier with the next key day for the general classification likely to be Thursday’s stage which encompasses the infamous Mount Ventoux.
© – AFP 2016 with reporting from Alan Waldron
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