Michael Matthews sprints to fourth place at stage eleven of the Tour de France and Warren Barguil retains his lead in the mountains competition.
Another day for the sprinters, the eleventh stage of the Tour de France took riders from Eymet to Pau with just one fourth category climb and one intermediate sprint to contest along the way. After five kilometres three riders had taken a two minute thirty lead which quickly extended up to the four minute mark. The peloton were fairly relaxed until the approach to the intermediate sprint, when teams that were interested in the points on offer came to the forefront of the peloton. Sitting at second in the green jersey classification, Team Sunweb were on the lookout for any additional points to add to Michael Matthews tally. A strong lead-out saw Michael sprint to fifth place collecting eleven points, behind the three breakaway riders up the road.
As the bunch dipped inside the final forty kilometres the breakaway’s advantage dipped under the one minute mark, but keen to avert any counter attack attempts the break stayed away for another thirty nine kilometres.
Inside the final ten kilometres Team Sunweb set up shop at the front of the peloton to lead Michael out for the sprint in Pau, where he went on to sprint to fourth place. Warren Barguil also remains the leader of the King of the Mountains classification and will wear the polka dot jersey as the race heads back to the mountains tomorrow.
After the finish Warren explained: “As we go back to the mountains my focus remains on the stage victory and I want to make sure I am in the right places at the right time to try to make that happen. I was on holiday close to the route of tomorrow earlier in the year and I took some time to take a look at the route then, so I know the finish already. It will be great to wear the polka dot jersey going back onto the climbs tomorrow.”
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek added: “Our timing was good today and we had our lead-out in a good position early on. The guys proved that they are strong as could deliver Michael into a good position for the sprint. He had a good opening position but unfortunately became a little bit blocked inside the final 100 metres.”
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