Tour de France 2016: Michael Matthews wins stage ten

Australian outsprints Peter Sagan, as world champion reclaims green jersey

Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExhange) won stage ten of the 2016 Tour de France as racing resumed after the first rest day.

The Australian, 25, already boasts stage wins at the Vuelta a Espana, in 2013 and 2014, and Giro d’Italia in 2014 and 2015, and completed his Grand Tour set with the sixth Grand Tour stage victory of his career.

Matthews outsprinted Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) – who reclaimed the green jersey – and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) as the break succeeded.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) retains the yellow jersey, meanwhile, after finishing safely in the peloton.

Michael Matthews won his first Tour de France stage, completing his set of Grand Tour wins (pic: Sirotti)

Starting with the biggest climb of this year’s race, Andorra’s Port d’Envalira, it actually took some time for a break to stay out with a nervous peloton keen not to miss out on the 2,408m high climb.

Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) attacked solo to take the Souvenir Henri Desgrange and accompanying €5,000 prize, but the Portuguese rider had been joined by world champion Sagan, Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Matthews into Spain.

More riders continued to bridge across, including stage seven winner Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) and Team Sky’s Mikel Landa.

Cummings’ team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen also made it across, while Matthews boasted two team-mates for company in Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey and BMC Racing also had strength in numbers with Greg van Avermaet and Damiano Caruso.

Sagan being in the break allowed him to provisionally reclaim the green jersey at the intermediate sprint, and with no chase from the peloton the gap was allowed to steadily increase.

Direct Energie did put in a dig on the front of the bunch, but from a long way out the break always looked likely to succeed.

The question became more how long the breakaway were going to work together, and that was answered with 22km to go when Peter Sagan’s accelerations led to a seven-strong move going clear.

With plenty of fast-finishers in the move, Sagan was joined by fellow former race leader Van Avermaet, Boasson Hagen and Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-La Mondiale), alongside the three Orica-BikeExchange riders.

Orica-BikeExchange had numbers in the break, and used that to their advantage (pic: Sirotti)

With Cummings unwilling to work in the group behind, and Nibali and Landa’s attempts to get across short-lived, the seven riders up front opened up their lead.

Thanks to their numerical advantage, Durbridge was able to set the pace for Matthews though there was plenty of attacking among the septet.

All together under the flame rouge, however, Van Avermaet went long with his sprint in a bid to clock his second stage win of this year’s race, but it proved too long for the Belgian.

Norwegian champion Boasson Hagen and Sagan also kicked hard, and looked likely to contest the stage win but when Matthews kicked he could not be stopped.

Bursting off Impey’s wheel, Matthews claimed the stage win – completing his set of Grand Tour triumphs – with Sagan’s consolation for third place being even more points classification points to his tally.

Further back, those in the peloton – including yellow jersey Froome and white jersey Adam Yates – all finished together with little drama to ensure the Brits remain first and second overall.

Tour de France 2016: stage ten – result

1) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Orica-BikeExchange – 4.22.38hrs
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Tinkoff – ST
3) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data
4) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing
5) Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
6) Daryl Impey (RSA) – Orica-BikeExhange +2”
7) Luke Durbrudge (AUS) – Orica-BikeExhange +1.10
8) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – BMC Racing +3.01
9) Gorka Izaguirre (ESP) – Movistar +3.10
10) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal – ST

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 49.08.20hrs
2) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +16”
3) Dan Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +19”
4) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +23”
5) Joaquim Rodriguez (SPA) – Katusha 37″
6) Romain Bardet (FRA) – FDJ +44″
7) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo – ST
8) Sergio Henao (COL) – Team Sky – ST
9) Louis Meintjes (RSA) – Lampre-Merida +55″
10) Alejandro Valverde (SPA) – Movistar +1’01”

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