Tour de France: Michael Matthews wins stage 16, Froome still in yellow

Posted July 19, 2017

Sunweb rode hard in the first climb of the day as Kittel was dropped, making sure he would not come back, and they collected their third win in four stages after Matthews won stage 14 and Frenchman Warren Barguil prevailed on stage 13.

Ahead of two grueling Alpine stages likely to decide the outcome of the 104th Tour de France, Chris Froome and his teammates have sent a clear message to their rivals with another impressive display of collective strength.

Today, the peloton were battered by strong crosswinds on exposed stretches of road for much of stage 16. "I left a space between me and the barrier", Matthews said, adding that Degenkolb had grabbed him by the neck after the finish.

"We took it from the word go, attacking the whole climb to make it hard for Quick-Step to shut us down", said Matthews, who also won a stage on the Tour a year ago. "It was not very sportsmanlike" - Matthews on German John Degenkolb, who appeared frustrated after crossing the line third in the sprint.

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Safely in the front group were the three riders occupying the podium positions this morning - overall leader Froome, Astana's Fabio Aru and Romain Bardet of AG2R-La Mondiale. "I think it won't sink in until tomorrow morning". "I don't know what they're going to do about it", Matthews who is second in the race for the green points jersey, behind Kittel, said.

Degenkolb complained that Matthews did not hold his line in the sprint, but the Australian was adamant he raced fairly.

Landa, who has been impressive since the start of the Tour despite dedicating himself to Froome, moved back to fifth overall, 1 minute, 17 seconds back. I didn't change my line, I sprinted in a straight line.

Chris Froome retained the overall lead in a hectic finale baulked by crosswinds that saw top 10 contenders Daniel Martin, Louis Meintjes (both 51sec) and Alberto Contador (1min 33sec) lose time.