Dan Martin loses ground on stage 16 of Le Tour

Posted July 19, 2017

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Early on in the 165-kilometre stage from Le-Puy-en-Velay, green jersey Marcel Kittel had been dropped due to strong riding from Matthews' team mates as the Australian looked to close the gap in the points competition.

While Tuesday's finish didn't have a significant impact on the top of the standings, Matthews and Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen engaged in an epic sprint to the finish line. The officials saw that, I don't know what they're going to do about it.

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"We took it from the word go, attacking the whole climb to make it hard for Quick-Step to shut us down", said Matthews, who also won a stage on the Tour previous year.

The stage win was contested out of a 32-man group of contenders, having distanced themselves with 13 kilometers to go in the crosswinds.

"I was waiting for the result and he grabbed me on the way past", Matthews said.

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Degenkolb complained that Matthews did not hold his line in the sprint, but the Australian was adamant he raced fairly. "I think it won't sink in until tomorrow morning". "I started my sprint and sprinted in a straight line".

"From then on it was an eight-man team time trial to the finish and I was able to finish off the job in the last 500 metres".

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.

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Froome, the defending champion, has an 18-second overall lead over Aru, with Romain Bardet 23 seconds back in third place.