Published: Wed, July 19, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Matthews wins Stage 16 in Tour, Froome keeps yellow jersey

Team Sunweb had ensured no breakaway could get away early in the day as they sought to deliver Matthews to the intermediate sprint, and once news came through of Kittel's struggles, they upped the pace further to ensure the Quick-Step Floors rider could not get back.

A stray bottle thrown from the peloton appeared to catch a spectator on the head during Stage 16 of the Tour de France.

"I was waiting for the result and he grabbed me on the way past", Matthews said.

Matthews won a photo finish sprint to claim the 16th stage ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen and Degenkolb.

The race will enter the Alps tomorrow during a 114 mile stage from La Mure to Serre Chevalier.

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

"I did a clean sprint, I did not change my line", Matthews said.

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Strong winds throughout the stage and a twisting route, particularly late on, meant there was an ever-present risk of echelons forming, meaning the riders towards the top of the overall standings had a nervous day. "I think it won't sink in until tomorrow morning".

Team Sunweb set Matthews up perfectly for a victory which leaves him only 29 points adrift of Marcel Kittel in the battle for the green jersey.

"Everyone knew it was going to split at some point", said Froome.

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.

Froome's Spanish teammate Mikel Landa reclaimed fifth place from Martin, who dropped to seventh, while Nairo Quintana climbed back into the top 10 at the expense of Contador.

"From then on it was an eight-man team time trial to the finish and I was able to finish off the job in the last 500 metres".

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