Matthews Makes it Two In a Row For Team Sunweb at Tour!
Team Sunweb did it again, executing a plan to perfection and scoring a stage win at the Tour de France for the second day in a row. Australian sprinter Michael Matthews delivered on the tough 181km Stage 14 from Blagnac to Rodez with a powerful uphill sprint to the finish on his TCR Advanced SL.
“I’m super happy to get the win for the team today,” Matthews said after scoring his second career Tour de France stage win. “We were all really focused even though there was a lot of pressure and expectations. The team have worked so hard for the whole Tour de France, so for us to take two in a row is incredible and we couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The team came into this year’s Tour de France targeting stage wins, and has now accomplished that goal both in the mountains—with Warren Barguil's Stage 13 victory—and now in the sprints with Matthews. The Aussie, who favors tough classics-style stages that reward all-rounder strength, targeted Stage 14 as one to shoot for. With two categorized climbs, rolling terrain, and punishing crosswinds, he knew it would take a strong team effort to pull off the win.
“We knew from the beginning that today would be a big chance for Michael and the team and we knew that it was our responsibility to take control,” said Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek. “The team had a long, hard day ahead of them but they handled it really well.”
A five-man breakaway escaped early, but Team Sunweb led the chase to bring them back and set up a showdown of classics riders for the finale. With the peloton thinning in the final 10k, Matthews still had two teammates with him.
Nikias Arndt, who trained with Matthews at a pre-Tour training camp in Italy, chased down one attempted breakaway, and Matthews came into the final kilometer in good position. Wearing his aerodynamic Giant Pursuit helmet, he timed his move perfectly, holding off second-place finisher Greg Van Avermaet of Beligum to take the win.
“We’ve prepared and worked so hard hoping to take the win today and we’ve done it,” Matthews said. “It’s a really special victory for us all.”
The three-week Tour de France continues with Stage 15 on Sunday, a 189km stage from Laissac-Severac ‘Eglise to Le Pu-en-Velay. Frenchman Warren Barguil has a solid lead in the mountains classification and will aim to defend the polka dot leader's jersey on a day that includes four categorized climbs.
Saturday, 15 July 2017