Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) won the 10th stage of the Tour de France, out sprinting Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Edvald Boasson Hagen respectively.
The 10th stage was seen as a slightly unpredictable stage as it began with a 22km category 1 climb and then gently rolled downhill to finish after 197km in Revel. Our African Team saw it as an important stage to get riders into the break and so Boasson Hagen and Steve Cummings did just that. A total of 15 riders made the break of the day, with some of the highest profile riders represented in the move from a variety of teams.
The peloton was in two minds as to whether they should or even could, chase the breakaway. In the end, with the rain falling throughout the day, the peloton didn’t really stand much chance with riders like Cummings, Boasson Hagen, Sagan, Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing), 3 Orica-BikeExchange riders and a few others driving the break. With 25km to go, Sagan took matters into his own hands and split the breakaway group with 7 riders going clear.
The Orica-BikeExchange team was in the driving seat as Luke Dubridge, Daryl Impey and Matthews all made the front split. Boasson Hagen, Sagan, van Avermaet and Samuel Dumoulin AG2R La Mondiale) were the 4 riders that rode away with the Orica trio and the 8 former breakaway riders quickly lost time to the new leaders. There was a short category 3 climb in the final 10km and it was thought the incline could make the difference but the Orica team did well to keep everyone in check.
Over the top of the climb, Boasson Hagen sped things up a bit before Impey then put in 2 stinging attacks but both were impressively covered by the World Champion, Sagan. Matthews who had been glued to the back wheel of Sagan from before the climb, now certainly had the upper hand being the known fastest finisher in the group. Eventually the riders rolled onto the finishing straight and it was van Avermaet who made the first move. Boasson Hagen followed and then the others did too. It was a scrappy sprint and unfortunately our Norwegian champion had to check his sprint twice as Matthews surged ahead with clear road in front of him to take the win.
Sagan just got his front wheel ahead of Boasson Hagen’s before the line which saw the World Champion take back the lead in the green jersey competition. The peloton rolled home over 9 minutes down but Chris Froome (Team Sky) comfortably kept his lead in the overall yellow jersey competition.
Douglas Ryder – Team Principle
Today’s stage was a super hard stage after the rest day. With a 22km climb in the beginning, it was really tough for the guys. If you look at Steve and Eddy who made the break and you see how tired they were, it shows how hard it was. Then riding in the rain and the cold, in the front, it was not an easy day for them. When the group split it was amazing to have Eddy in the front and it would have been amazing to have Steve in the front as well but Steve has done a lot already this Tour. With Eddy against 3 Orica riders, I still think it was a good option for us but getting blocked in the sprint twice and not being able to open up properly was a bit of a disappointment for him but a podium is fantastic. A year ago we would have been elated with a podium, and we still are but having won 4 stages already we just keep thinking we want to win. A podium though, it is still amazing.