Race report

Michael Matthews 9th in messy Tour sprint

Tour de France

Today the riders were faced with the longest stage of the race: 230 kilometres from Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saône. Although the route had several small uncategorised climbs in the opening half of the stage, the parcours always suited a bunch sprint. The peloton were happy to let a group of two roll off the front after the flag drop and ride tempo all day.

It was a long day in the saddle and with the peloton always in control, the pace was slower than normal. The breakaway was eventually caught within the final 15 kilometres and the sprint teams moved to the front of the bunch to set up their fast men. The team worked well as a unit and moved Michael Matthews up near the head of the peloton with around eight kilometres to go. However, as the route became more technical, with a lot of street furniture and narrowing roads, the lead out trains from all of the teams became a lot more unorganised and the fight for position was intense. The team lost each other a little bit in the finale, with Matthews sprinting to a ninth place finish on the stage.

“It was a long day with a small breakaway and the bunch took it really easy but the legs were still hurting after a hard day yesterday,” explained road captain Nikias Arndt. “We tried to do a good lead out for Michael and I think we were in a good position going into the last kilometre, but all of us already had to sprint before to get there, so we couldn’t really nail it. The goal of getting three guys into the last kilometre was achieved but on the other hand we were not strong enough to finish it off in the end.”

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek added: “It was a long stage today. We wanted to sprint with Michael and he felt good after the past two hard days. I think the positioning went ok for us but in the last kilometre we got a little disconnected and that cost us a good result.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GROENEWEGEN Dylan Team Jumbo-Visma 6:02:44 120
2 EWAN Caleb Lotto Soudal ,, 50
3 SAGAN Peter BORA - hansgrohe ,, 25
9 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb ,, -
79 BOL Cees Team Sunweb ,, -
89 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 0:25 -
98 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb 0:44 -
110 KÄMNA Lennard Team Sunweb 1:27 -
141 KELDERMAN Wilco Team Sunweb 3:13 -
161 HAGA Chad Team Sunweb ,, -
173 ROCHE Nicolas Team Sunweb 4:25 -