Matthews sprints to fifth on stage 16 of the Tour de France

Mon 18 Jul 2016

Michael Matthews pitted himself against the world's fastest men on stage 16 of the Tour de France today, finishing in fifth place whilst ORICA-BikeExchange teammate Adam Yates holds on to the white jersey and third overall.

The long and hot 209km stage saw a two-man breakaway for most of the day before a fast and technical sprint decided the stage in Bern, Switzerland.

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) won the sprint with stage ten winner Matthews a bike length behind in fifth place.

White jersey holder Yates still leads the best young rider category and remains third on the general classification going into tomorrow’s rest day after finishing safely near the front of the peloton.

Sport director Matt White was happy with the performances and position of the team as they look forward to a well deserved rest day.

“It was a very fast stage today,” said White. “The tailwind helped out the breakaway which in turn made things a little more comfortable in the bunch.”

“We were able to work out relatively early which teams were looking to control things and that provided more respite than anticipated.

“It was a good effort from Michael (Matthews) in the sprint after a very nervous run in. There was more road furniture to contend with and lots of teams worried about getting caught the wrong side of the split over those two small final ascents.

“Adam (Yates) finished safely in the front group and after a great two weeks of racing so far we are looking forward to tomorrow’s rest day with the hardest days of the Tour still to come.”

How it happened:

Stage 16 began in blazing heat and a frantic start saw two riders attack early on and develop a small advantage.

Thirty kilometres into the stage and the duo had around three minutes on the peloton and one minute 45seconds on a small chasing group.

The two riders out front were both from Erixx-Quickstep, Tony Martin and Julian Alaphilippe, with Martin leading the Frenchman for much of the first 80km.

Six minutes separated the leading the pair and the peloton with 120kilometres left to race and the four chasers at two minutes 30seconds.

As they crossed the border into Switzerland in the last 75km, the chasing quartet had given up and were back in the peloton. The gap from the bunch to Martin and Alaphilippe was down to three minutes.

Swiss team BMC moved to the front of the peloton on their home roads and with 35km to go the breakaway duo were within one minute of the bunch.

Tinkoff, Direct-Energie and Dimension-Data also sent men up to the front as the tousle for position and control started to come to life.

With 20km to go the field came back together briefly before Alberto Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) launched a futile solo attack and hung off the front for a few kilometres with a slight lead of 15seconds.

Inevitably Costa was reeled in with five kilometres remaining and the tension began to build towards the technical finale.

The short cobbled climb before the line caused some confusion as the front of the race split apart with another incline to come before the finishing straight opened out.

A fast and frantic sprint followed with Matthews launching himself into the mix and crossing the line in fifth place behind stage winner Sagan.

Tomorrow is the second rest day of this year’s Tour de France with stage 17 taking place on Wednesday. Covering 184.5km from Berne to Finhault-Emosson, stage 17 is a pure mountain stage covering four categorised climbs including a challenging Hors category summit finish.

Tour de France stage 16 results:

1. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 04:26:02
2. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) ST
3. Sondre Holst Enger (IAM-Cycling) ST
5. Michael Matthews (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST

General classification after stage 16:

1. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 72:40:38
2. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 00:01:47
3. Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:02:45