Michael Matthews wins Tour de France Stage 10 after long breakaway

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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.”

Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under

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ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia’s Jay Vine defended his overnight lead to win the Tour Down Under, the first event of the 2023 World Tour.

Simon Yates of Britain won the final stage and moved up from third to second place on overall standings. Vine came in second on the stage to secure the biggest win of his career in a stage race.

The UAE Team Emirates rider took the overall tour lead when he finished second in Stage 2 and third in Stage 3. He came into the final stage with a 15-second lead on general classification.

The 70-mile stage involved four laps of a 15.5 mile-circuit through the Adelaide Hills before finishing just beyond the summit of Mount Lofty.

Yates led the crucial attack on the ascent less than 1.2 miles from the finish, but Vine jumped onto his wheel and Australian Ben O’Connor also joined in.

O’Connor led out close to the finish line, Vine briefly passed him but Yates came over the top to claim the stage win. Vine retained his overall advantage and claimed the title in his debut appearance in the Tour Down Under.

The 27-year-old made his name in e-Sports before being signed by the UAE team after winning the academy program on the Zwift online platform. He won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana last year and the Australian Time Trial title.

“It’s pretty incredible to be standing here and wearing this jersey,” Vine said. “The way we drove that was first class. My guys were incredible.”

The final stage featured a breakaway of 13 riders but Vine’s UAE teammates led the chase by the peloton and put their rider in a position to contest the win.

Yates again rode an aggressive race but had to be happy with the stage win.

“We came Down Under with a lot of ambition. We put a lot into it and we didn’t come away with the overall but we can walk away pretty happy,” Yates said. “Obviously Jay Vine is a massive talent and the crowd will be happy with a local winner.”

France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads

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ADELAIDE, Australia — French cyclist Bryan Coquard won Stage 4 of the Tour Down Under for his first-ever World Tour win, while Australia’s Jay Vine retained the overall tour lead by 15 seconds with one stage remaining.

Coquard is a lightweight sprinter who has had 49 wins in a decade-long career but had never won on the World Tour until he cleared out near the finish to claim the 82-mile stage by a margin of about just over 100 feet.

Vine was among the leading group that shared Coquard’s winning time and who retained his lead on general classification over Britain’s Simon Yates and Germany’s Phil Bauhaus. The race concludes with Stage 5, which ends atop 2,329-foot Mount Lofty.

“It’s a long time that I’ve waited for this win, 10 years,” said Coquard, who rides for the French Cofidis team. “I never really expected and I’m very happy and relieved with this win.”

While the stage was flat and suited sprinters, it had its challenges. Cross-winds and occasional gradients made the stage difficult and confounded some riders.

After an early breakaway by Jonas Rutsch and former tour winner Daryl Impey of South Africa, the peloton broke into two groups with Vine and other tour leaders among the leading group.

The leading group stayed together around the last, sharp bend towards the finish and Coquard bided his time until his late sprint left other riders flat-footed.

“It was pretty stressful,” Vine said. “There was one point there, I thought we were going to have an easy day and I was happy, smiling, waving to families on the side of the road.

“Then, 45 kilometers in it was on and it was on until the end so it was a very hard day. There was a lot more calorie expenditure than I was planning.”