Yates remains in white as Matthews just misses out on the top ten on stage 14 of the Tour de FranceSat 16 Jul 2016
Michael Matthews finished in 14th place on stage 14 of the Tour de France today whilst ORICA-BikeExchange teammate Adam Yates finished safely in the peloton to reatain the white jersey and third on the general classification.
Stage ten winner Matthews again pitted himself against the big names of the sprinting world and just missed out on the top ten after a fast finish to a very pedestrian stage.
Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) won the sprint and the stage whilst Yates, the leader of the best young rider category, finished alongside the rest of the overall contenders and remains in third place ahead of tomorrow's stage 15.
Sport director Matt White was pleased that Yates and ORICA-BikeExchange made it through the long stage without incident.
“It was a pretty uneventful stage today, long and into a headwind for most of the day,” said White. “We saw some negative racing from the bunch. It’s a long Tour de France this year, maybe two or three hundred kilometres longer than usual, and you saw a lot of teams taking the opportunity to recover a little today.”
“We protected Adam (Yates) very well and came through the stage without any problems. Tomorrow is going to be relentless all day long and it was important to try and conserve as much energy as possible today.
“There are four big tests coming up in the mountains and tomorrow is the first, this is as tough as it gets. The first climb comes straight out of the neutral zone and the racing will start immediately.”
How it happened:
Brilliant sunshine and 60kmph winds welcomed the peloton to the start of stage 14 of the Tour de France and after a slow first hour of racing four riders escaped to form the day’s early breakaway.
Despite a strong headwind the quartet managed to develop a lead of over four minutes by the 40km mark with Dimension-Data and Lotto-Soudal the two teams controlling the bunch.
The peloton eased off and for the next 90kilomtres the situation remained the same. With 70km to go the lead of the four escapees had fallen slightly to three minutes.
Dimension-Data were still represented at the front of the bunch alongside Lotto-Soudal and Etixx-Quickstep and with 50kilometres left to race the four leaders were within one minute of the main field.
Not wanting to bring the break back to soon, the peloton held fire and left the quartet dangling off the front between 50seconds and a minute for the next 30km.
Finally with only five kilometres to go the field came back together and began to shape up for the bunch sprint.
The sprinter's teams monopolised the front of the bunch as the overall contenders fell away in the last two kilometres.
Cavendish got the kick on his rivals and won the stage by a wheel ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Matthews finished just out of contention fro the sprint in 14th place.
Tomorrow's stage 15 covers 160km from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz, a brutal mountain stage that includes eight climbs and two ascents of the Hors category Grand Colombier. It could possibly be a day for the all round opportunist with the flat sections and technical descents that come in between the climbs ideal terrain for the breakaway specialists.
Tour de France stage 14 results:
1. Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) 05:43:49
2. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) ST
3. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) ST
14. Michael Matthews (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST
General classification after stage 14:
1. Christopher Froome (Team Sky) 63:46:40
2. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 00:01:47
3. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:02:45