Procycling - - Debrief -

The lumpy stage into the Rhône Valley was per­fe­cly suited to Michael Matthews, but as well as a po­ten­tial win, the day of­fered the Aus­tralian the chance to make up ground on Mar­cel Kittel in the green jersey com­pe­ti­tion. Team Sun­web had won stages 13 and 14, with War­ren Bar­guil and then Matthews, so their tails were up and they sensed early that Kittel was there for the tak­ing. The pace was in­stantly high on the two cat­e­gorised climbs in suc­ces­sion out of Le-Puy-en-Ve­lay, and on hear­ing Kittel was al­ready strug­gling at the back, Sun­web massed on the front to iso­late the Quick-Step rider early, or as Matthews later said, he at­tacked “like a ma­niac” to dis­tance him. It worked, and Sun­web pushed the pace for the best part of the next 100km un­til the in­ter­me­di­ate sprint, which Matthews won. Into the flat valley, cross­winds started to play havoc, splin­ter­ing the front group with 15km to go. Bar­guil neu­tralised a late move by Daniele Ben­nati while Nikias Arndt led Matthews out through the tech­ni­cal fi­nal stretch, po­si­tion­ing him on Greg Van Aver­maet’s wheel be­fore he opened his sprint and held off Ed­vald Boas­son Ha­gen and John De­genkolb on the line. It was a com­plete team per­for­mance where ev­ery rider played their part.

Won stages 14 & 16 at the Tour, and added his irst green jersey in Paris

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