Eighth for Matthews after Adam Yates spends day in break on stage 15 at Tour de FranceSun 19 Jul 2015
Multiple grand tour stage winner Michael Matthews has sprinted to eighth place on stage 15 of the Tour de France.
On the stage that could have easily been gifted to a breakaway, instead saw a move of nine riders including ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Adam Yates chased down for the peloton to contest the Valence finish all together.
Lotto Soudal’s Andre Greipel took his third win of the Tour whilst Matthews battled in a messy sprint for the top ten result.
“Today was going to go one of two ways,” sport director Matt White said.
“There was a very big breakaway at the start of the day but there was too many dangerous guys in there, including Peter Sagan and a couple of general classification guys, and that was the downfall.
“It did splinter and Adam Yates made the select group but it was too small and there was too much tail wind for it to go to the line.
“Then we had Michael having a go in the final. He has been up and down during the Tour after his crash but it was a sprint stage and we needed to have a go. It’s good for his confidence that he has shown he is back and is on the mend.”
How it unfolded
The travelling Tour de France party was torn at the beginning of the 183km stage 15 from Mende to Valence.
Some thought it was another day for the breakaway whilst just as many were hoping and working towards a bunch sprint.
An initial group of 27riders rode off the front, but Team Katusha, in particular, were unhappy with that scenario and it took a shake up and reduction to nine riders for them to be given an space.
Even with just nine in the front, there was still significant interest from the peloton and the gap never exceeded a few minutes. By the final climb, which peaked 56km from the finish, there was less than two-minutes in it.
All but two of the lead group dropped back to the peloton with 40km remaining, but they too were doomed as more teams joined the persistence of Team Katusha to force a bunch sprint.
The pace was kept steady at the head of the peloton, deterring any secondary moves until inside the final ten kilometres when several solo moves were shut down.
In a messy final, all team sprint trains were disbanded before the final kick to the line on a day where Greipel was again too strong for the rest.