Matthews completes Grand Tour stage sweep; Froome retains lead

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Matthews completes Grand Tour stage sweep; Froome retains lead
Michael Matthews celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of other riders at the end of the 197km 10th stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France. - Reuters

Published: Tue 12 Jul 2016, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 13 Jul 2016, 12:13 AM

Michael Matthews completed the full set of Grand Tour stage victories with success at the Tour de France 10th stage on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Australian had already taken three stage wins at the Vuelta a Espana and two on the Giro d'Italia.
But on Tuesday he pipped world champion Peter Sagan and Edvald Boassen Hagen of Norway in a sprint finish following great teamwork from his Orica outfit.
Fellow Aussie Luke Durbridge and South African Daryl Impey sacrificed their own victory chances to allow the fast-finishing Matthews to burst to the line first at the end of the 184km trek from Andorra to Revel.
Matthews, from Canberra, even had time to lift his arms in celebration before crossing the line.
It was a high calibre six-man sprint containing four former Tour stage winners, while Impey once wore the race leader's yellow jersey.
That remained with reigning champion Chris Froome, who rolled over the line with a languid peloton almost 10 minutes later. His British countryman Adam Yates is second at 16sec with Dan Martin of Ireland third overall at 19sec.
Just two days out from a stage finish on the mythical Mont Ventoux, it was a day for the favourites to take a back seat on Tuesday.
Setting off with a 22km climb to the highest point of the race at 2,400-metres above sea level, it was a sprightly start to the day as opportunities to get in a breakaway were aplenty. Several breaks tried to form with Sagan particularly restless.
Portugal's Rui Costa was first over the top of the Port d'Envalira mountain but the successful breakaway didn't form until more than 50km had been covered and the descent was coming to an end.
Fifteen riders, Sagan among them, got away and quickly built a lead of more than six minutes.
But several teams that had missed the break - which included nine former Tour stage winners - decided not to make life comfortable for those out front and stretched out the peloton in a rapid chase. But with 25km left, Sagan put in a searing burst of pace that split the breakaway group, leaving just seven riders in the lead - crucially three of those from the Aussie Orica team.

By AFP

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