Michael Matthews won again at the Tour de France five years after the last time. Second at Longwy and Lausanne, he became the second Australian to win a stage after Simon Clarke on stage 5 and the second rider from Team BikeExchange to win a stage after Dylan Groenewegen on stage 3. The sprinter from Canberra rode as an attacker to finish solo after the côte de la Croix-Neuve in Mende while Alberto Bettiol and Thibaut Pinot rounded out the podium.
POGACAR ON THE ATTACK AT THE BEGINNING
157 riders took the start of stage 14 at 12.35. Tadej Pogacar attacked on two occasions in the first hill and put Jonas Vingegaard under the pressure. A few team-mates of the yellow jersey holder, including Primoz Roglic, lost contact with the main peloton while Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) crested the Côte de Saint-Just-Malmont (cat. 3, km 14) ahead of Chris Juul Jensen (Team BikeExchange-Jayco). Last year’s super combative Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels-KTM) tried his luck in the Côte du Châtaignier. 150km before the finish, he found himself in a 23-man leading group along with Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers), Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-Citröen), Felix Grossschartner, Lennard Kämna and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Gregor Mühlberger (Movistar), Simon Geschke (Cofidis), Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain Victorious), Stefan Küng and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Alberto Bettiol, Powless and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-EasyPost), Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal), Bauke Mollema and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Jakob Fuglsang, Krists Neilands and Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco).
SOLO ATTACKS BY MICHAEL MATTHEWS
Meintjes was the highest ranked on GC with a 15’46’’ deficit. Right after the 100km to go mark, the difference between the 23 leaders and the peloton reached 10’. It was 11’15’’ when Matthews rode away solo with 53km to go, following attempts by Simmons to shake up the leading group in the côte de Grandrieu. 42km before the end, Grossschartner, Kron and Sanchez joined Matthews. Kron almost crashed with 25km to go due to a mechanical. Grossschartner, Sanchez and Matthews had 30’’ lead over Bettiol, Kämna, Martinez, Pinot, Fuglsang, Uran, Konrad, Meintjes and Soler. Matthews attacked up to the côte de la Croix-Neuve in Mende. Bettiol came across to him and passed him with no mercy but the Australian held on, came across and soloed before the summit located 1.5km before the finishing line. His small advantage was enough for him to take his fourth Tour de France stage victory.
POGACAR AND VINGEGAARD TOGETHER
Pogacar attacked almost from the bottom of the final climb. Only Vingegaard managed to follow him while Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas were the last adversaries to let them go. Pogacar tried again before the summit but the top two climbers arrived together 12’23’’ after Matthews. There was no major change overall but Meintjes moved up to seventh with a deficit of 4’24’’ from Vingegaard who will enjoy a fifth day in the Maillot Jaune.