REVEL, France — Michael Matthews profited from the work of his teammates to win the 10th stage of the Tour de France in a sprint finish after a long breakaway on Tuesday.
The Australian rider edged world champion Peter Sagan and Edvald Boasson Hagen to claim his first stage win at cycling’s biggest race.
The stage took the riders from Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra on a 197-kilometer trek to Revel in the south of France.
Matthews was part of a group of early breakaway riders during the 24-kilometer climb to the Port d’Envalira, the highest climb of the Tour at 2,408 meters.
Finishing 9 minutes, 39 seconds in the main peloton behind the breakaway, defending champion Chris Froome kept the yellow jersey. Froome has a 16-second lead over fellow Briton Adam Yates, with Irish rider Dan Martin in third place, 19 seconds behind.
A group of six riders including Matthews’ teammates, Daryl Impey and Luke Durbridge, fought for the stage victory in a frenzied finale. Sagan tried to make the most of a small climb nine kilometers before the line but failed to surprise his rivals with his acceleration. Impey countered the move, Durbridge then tried another attack to wear out Sagan, and the small group stayed compact until the final kilometer.
Impey then perfectly set up Matthews in the final section.
“It’s unbelievable. I was close to giving in at this race after I had two bad crashes two and one years ago,” Matthews said.
“I thought, maybe this race is not for me, but today my dream comes true. It was never the plan to go for a breakaway today. We wanted a bunch sprint finish but we’re such a strong group of guys. Durbridge and Impey gave me everything to win. I have no word to describe what they did for me.”