Diciembre 09, 2019

Watch: Tour de France stage 16 highlights

20 Julio 2017, 06:00 | Cornelio Vivanco

Matthews held off Edvald Boasson Hagen to win his second stage of this year's Tour

Michael Matthews

And one less rival for race leader Chris Froome to watch quite so closely.

After reaching the top it was time to test out the thermal properties of Le Figaro, a trick I learned from Sam Bennett's Irish Independent column during the Giro d'Italia.

But German sprinter John Degenkolb was angered by what he claimed was Matthews changing his line at the finish and denying him the chance to sprint. "I used to watch him on television".

The Nelson College student and aspiring road cyclist was racing against George Bennett as recently as last summer.

In fact you could name most sports and the idea that an up-and-coming amateur would compete against a full-time professional, and one of the best in the world, seems rather absurd.

The bill, at the end, was costly for Aru. Bardet is still third.

The 179.5-kilometer (111.5-mile) trek starts in the town of Briancon and heads south along the shores of the picturesque Lac de Serre-Poncon and its pristine waters.

We all knew we had the physical training done, but you need more than fitness to conquer the Alps. "I managed to hold on for the last lap but I just dropped and had nothing left".

While it's no mountain stage, and should come down to a sprint, stage 16 sets of on a difficult parcours through the Ardèche en route to the finish in Romans-sur-Isère in Drôme. "I think it won't really sink in until tomorrow", Matthews said.

Also there were Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale-Drapac, fourth this morning, and Yates, who moves sixth overall, just 1 second ahead of Martin and 2 minutes 2 seconds off the race lead.

Contador was already too far behind the leaders to contend for the yellow jersey but clearly had planned to leave his mark on the race with one big stage victory.

Froome also took four bonus seconds for finishing third to help increase his lead.

"I was feeling strong and my legs were good".

Most famously, Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, who won the Tour of France in 2014, was disqualified from La Vuelta - the Tour of Spain - in 2015 following a "sticky bottle" moment. But that discipline isn't Aru's forte - unlike Froome.

Or in the case of the Tour de France, a helping bottle.

My first attempt, in 2015, three years after I took up cycling in my mid-30s, didn't go well at all. "I raced to take the jersey and I came close to dropping them at the top of the Galibier". I attacked. That's the way I love to race. I have no regrets.

Judges will often not punish the rider, although a time limit of one or two second seconds is usually enforced.

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