A sweltering day at Le Tour
Running between Saint-Étienne and Mende, where the race returned after four years, stage 14 of the Tour de France had massive breakaway written all over it, but in what turned out to be an unexpected script, the first ones to make their moves early in the day were the GC contenders. A series of savage attacks on Côte de Saint-Just-Malmont rapidly split the bunch and put a dent to many of those hoping to be in the breakaway.
The skirmishes between the yellow jersey favourites continued for the first hour of the day, the pace relenting only on the descent, where a large group finally took off and built an insurmountable 14-minute advantage. It was from there that Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) attacked on the short and steep Côte de la Croix Neuve and took a solo victory.
Mikkel Honoré was Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s first finisher on this hot and demanding day, followed by Andrea Bagioli, while Fabio Jakobsen easily made it inside the time cut ahead of the second week’s last stage, which will take the peloton to the stunning medieval city of Carcassonne, where our team scored a resounding victory at last year’s edition.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images