Although Michael Matthews finished outside the top ten on stage seven of the Vuelta a España, he retained the points classification lead he assumed following stage six yesterday. Decked out in green from head to toe, Matthews enjoyed protection from his teammates within the bunch as ORICA-GreenEDGE squad hoped to set up the points leader for another stage win.
The Australian outfit assumed control of the race from the start until nearly the finish. They brought back an early break attempt they deemed dangerous before giving the nod to a three rider move that included Marco Pinotti (BMC), Christian Knees (Team Sky) and Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural). Christian Meier combined forces with representatives from the other sprint teams to return the leading trio to the bunch 16km from the finish.
With 8km left to race, Gilbert accelerated away from the bunch. Stybar jumped on his wheel, and the duo cooperated to extend their advantage. Although they never established a lead beyond 17”, the peloton was unable to close them down in the run-in to the finish. Michael Matthews finished in 12th place in the bunch kick for 14th place on the stage.
"We had to use Baden Cooke and Leigh Howard to chase. Unfortunately, none of the other sprint teams helped us. We did what we could, but it wasn’t enough to bring those two back. Coming into the final, Mitch [Docker] came to the front to start the lead out,” said Stephens. “Gilbert and Stybar were about 15” ahead at the point, so Mitch had to go earlier than planned. He went hard enough that he rode away from the rest of the field. He backed off a bit to get the boys back on his wheel but lost the momentum we needed to bring back the guys out front.” - Sport Director Neil Stephens
|1||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) - Omega Pharma-Quick Step||4:51:27|
|2||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) - BMC Racing Team||ST|
|3||Robert Wagner (Ger) - Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:01|
|4||Adrien Petit (Fra) - Cofidis, Solutions Credits||ST|
|5||Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) - Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||ST|
|6||Andrew Fenn (GBr) - Omega Pharma-Quick Step||ST|
|7||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) - Sky Procycling||ST|
|8||Danilo Wyss (Swi) - BMC Racing Team||ST|
|9||Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) - BMC Racing Team||ST|
|10||Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) - Team Argos-Shimano||ST|
|14||Michael Matthews (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:00:01|
|111||Mitchell Docker (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:00:26|
|124||Simon Clarke (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:02:39|
|158||Simon Gerrans (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:04:19|
|168||Baden Cooke (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:04:25|
|169||Leigh Howard (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|189||Christian Meier (Can) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:07:34|
|191||Sam Bewley (NZl) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:07:38|