Race report

Fast finale sees Michael Matthews finish 6th in Nîmes

Tour de France

With yesterday’s rest day behind them, the racing at the Tour de France resumed today with a stage that started and finished in Nîmes. Despite the somewhat rolling parcours the profile suited a bunch sprint and with only a five rider breakaway escaping early on, the day looked destined to end in a sprint. The sweltering temperatures would however make the stage more demanding than it appeared in the road book.

As the peloton approached the final 60 kilometres of racing, there was a threat of crosswinds and that saw the breakaway’s advantage slashed to only 20 seconds. However, nothing materialised and their gap ballooned back out to over a minute. A crash within the peloton in the final 30 kilometres saw Cees Bol involved, but he was able to get back on his bike and return to the back of the bunch.

In the finale, the peloton were always in control and despite a good effort from the breakaway, they were caught within the final three kilometres. The team worked to move Michael Matthews up, with the Australian delivering a good turn of speed, hitting over 65 kilometres an hour in the sprint and ending the day in a solid sixth place.

“Being Australian definitely helps out with this heat,” explained Matthews at the finish. “We had Cees who was unfortunately involved in a crash with around 30 kilometres to go, which totally changed our plan for the day as we planned to ride for him. Being such an easy day it was probably a better sprint for him. After he came down in the crash we waited to make the decision but then decided to go for me in the finale and I tried as best I could. The team is still working really well together; we’ll keep trying like we’ve done this whole Tour.”

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek added: “Today we wanted to go for Cees, in the event of an easy and fast bunch sprint. Unfortunately Cees crashed, which considering how the final went is disappointing as I think he had a good chance. We had to change plans in the final and we got a sixth place out of it. With the crash of Cees it was a bit disappointing but the guys did what they could in the circumstances.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 EWAN Caleb Lotto Soudal 3:57:08 120
2 VIVIANI Elia Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 50
3 GROENEWEGEN Dylan Team Jumbo-Visma ,, 25
6 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb ,, -
54 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 0:24 -
79 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb 1:02 -
83 KÄMNA Lennard Team Sunweb 1:20 -
99 HAGA Chad Team Sunweb 2:00 -
112 ROCHE Nicolas Team Sunweb ,, -
155 BOL Cees Team Sunweb 8:55 -
DNS KELDERMAN Wilco Team Sunweb - -