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Mathews wins Froome takes back yellow

16th July 2017

Australian Michael Matthews (Sunweb) won Stage 14 victory of the Tour de France, surging clear on the tough, short ascent into Rodez while Fabio Aru (Astana) got caught out in the battle for positions in the finish that saw the yellow jersey go back to Chris Froome (Team Sky).

 

A lumpy finish to the stage saw a few late attacks get clear, but they were all caught as there was a sprint for positioning going into the foot of the final climb to the finish. The pace was hard right from the bottom of the climb to the line as Matthews stayed near the front following wheels until unleashing with 200 metres to go, passing Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and Phillipe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) to take a strong stage win.

 

After the stage Matthews talked about the challenges he had coming into the same finish two years ago. "Last time we finished at this finish two years ago I had four broken ribs and skin all off my body," Matthews said. "It was one of the stages I was really targeting before I crashed and now to come back on the same finish, to win it like that; it's really a dream come true."

 

stage 14 math stage

 

After over 181 kilometres of racing on the stage and over a week of the Tour Mathews was happy to have been able to repay his teammates efforts with a win. "When we kept the breakaway so close, I knew that I wouldn't have many teammates in the finale because we had to ride quite hard to bring de Gendt back. We rode all day and we were still able to have two or three guys with me there in the final. It was the perfect day."

 

stage 14 1

 

Race leader Aru got lost his positioning coming into the frantic finish where he was badly placed too far back and lost 25 seconds to Chris Froome as he had to dodge riders and try to limit his loses from the back of the peloton. Froome, who now holds a 19 second lead over Aru, was surprised and clearly pretty happy after the intense finish.

 

"Without the job the team did today, I wouldn't have found myself in that position," Froome said. "Especially Kwiato (Michael Kwiatkowski) just did an amazing job to keep me there in the final kilometre. Then in the last 500 metres he was just shouting in the radio saying, 'Go, go, go, you've got a gap. It's splitting to bits back here, just push'. It was amazing to hear that. "It's still so close between the major rivals, every second is worth really fighting for."

 

George Bennett came home 22 seconds adrift of Mathews, glued to Alberto Contador’s wheel so remains eleventh on GC one minute and two seconds behind the two time champion who is in tenth place. 

 

stage 14 2

 

Images: © A.S.O. / Alex Broadway