Matthews sprints to stage 16 win, Froome maintains lead in the wind

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Michael Matthews sprinted to a second Tour de France stage victory in the space of four days and Chris Froome stayed on course to retain his title on Tuesday.

Matthews took his first stage win of this year's race on Saturday and edged out Edvald Boasson Hagen by a wheel length in a frantic finish to stage 16 in the Rhone valley

Boasson Hagen left it late to challenge Matthews and John Degenkolb, but it was the Australian who got his head down to edge it at the end of the 165-kilometre route from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isere.

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.

Degenkolb looked disgruntled as he crossed the line, seemignly claiming that Mathews had impeded him, but there was no change to the result on a day which saw the riders battered by strong winds.

Froome stayed 18 seconds ahead of Fabio Aru in the general classification after staying out of trouble following a rest day, which was more than welcome after he endured a scare on Sunday.

The defending champion feared he would lose the yellow jersey due to a damaged wheel on stage 15, but he recovered to keep his advantage intact after Michal Kwiatkowski removed his wheel and fitted it on the Brit's bike to save him time.

Dan Martin was the big loser of the day, slipping two minutes and three seconds behind Froome in seventh place overall

Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) was the last of the breakaway riders to be caught at 44.4km and, after strong cross winds provided a huge test for the riders, it was Matthews who summoned one last push to get back on top of the podium.

 

GOOD DAY / BAD DAY

Matthews enhanced his chances of taking the green jersey off Kittel by putting the hammer down to deny Boasson Hagen yet again, the Norwegian having finished second on three occasions in this year's race.

Kittel finished more than 16 minutes off the pace, while Martin toiled to drop down the GC standings. It is as you were for Froome, Aru, Romain Bardet and Rigoberto Uran, who were all given the same time.

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION 

1. Chris Froome (Sky) 68:18:36
2. Fabio Aru (Astana) + 0.18s
3. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +0.23s

POINTS CLASSIFICATION 

1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 373 points
2. Michael Matthews (Sunweb) 344 points
3. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) 204 points

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS 

1. Warren Barguil (Sunweb) 117 points
2. Primoz Roglic (Lotto NL-Jumbo) 38 points
3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 38 points

NEXT UP...

It is on to the Alps for a lung-busting 183km stage from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier on Tuesday.

There will be climbing to tackle on the testing ascents of the Col du Telegraphe and Col du Galibier prior to a downhill finish.