Australian Michael Matthews timed his sprint to perfection after a long breakaway to win stage 10 at the Tour de France on Tuesday. Briton Chris Froome coasted home with the pack and retains the leader’s yellow jersey.
After a 197-kilometer ride from Escaldes-Engordany to Revel, Matthews (Orica BikeExchange) edged world champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia (Tinkoff) and Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) to secure his debut stage win at cycling’s most prestigious race.
Matthews had previously won stages at the Giro (Tour of Italy) and Vuelta (Tour of Spain) and thanked team mates Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey for helping to engineer his first success at the Tour de France.
“It’s unbelieveable, it is just sinking in,” Matthews told reporters.
“I was close to giving up on this race after I had bad crashes two years ago and last year, I thought this race is not for me but today my dream comes true,” added the 25-year-old.
“It was never the plan to go for a breakaway today. We wanted a bunch sprint finish but we’re such a strong group of guys. Durbridge and Impey gave me everything to win today. I have no words to describe what they did for me.”
Froome, chasing a third Tour triumph after winning in 2013 and 2015, finished safely in the peloton around nine minutes off the pace.
The Team Sky leader has a 16-second advantage over compatriot Adam Yates (Orica), with Irish rider Dan Martin (Etixx Quick-Step) in third, a further three seconds adrift.
Sagan’s consolation for finishing second, meanwhile, was that he took over the sprinters’ green points jersey from Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).
Fit for Vuelta
Separately on Tuesday, Spaniard Alberto Contador ruled himself out of the road race at next month’s Olympics, saying he needed four weeks to recover from injuries sustained at the Tour.
Contador, a two-time Tour champion, withdrew during Sunday’s ninth stage and said his goal now was to get fit for the Vuelta starting on Aug. 20.
Wednesday’s 162.5-km 11th stage at the Tour de France takes the riders from Carcassone to Montpellier.