Matthews still in the hunt as Konrad shines

14 July 2021 02:27:12 GMTPlus10

Michael Matthews cut his deficit to Mark Cavendish in the race for the green jersey to 37 points, as Patrick Konrad soloed to victory on Stage 16 of the Tour de France.

Matthews finished third on the 169km route from Pas De La Case to Saint-Gaudens and is now 25/1 for the Points Classification, with Cavendish 1/100.

To win a stage here, it makes me really proud.

Michael Matthews

After Monday's rest day, Konrad was arguably the strongest man in the entire race, riding through the various breakaway groups before attacking on the Col de Portet d'Aspet.

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No one from those remaining in the breakaway could live with the Austrian champion, who even had time to sit up in the final 600m and celebrate his maiden Tour victory.

Konrad also became his country's first stage winner at the Grande Boucle since 2005 and speaking afterwards, the 29-year-old admitted he was proud of his achievement.

"It is my first win on the world tour and this is the biggest cycling race in the world, so I am really speechless. I am super, super happy," he said.

"I think it came in the right moment, to win a stage here, it makes me really proud.

"I was already three times in the break but always waiting until the final. It is not always a good decision to go early but I gave it a try and I am really happy that I had the legs to get to the finish."

While Matthews closed the gap on Cavendish in the points competition, there was little to write home about amongst the leaders on the general classification.

Despite a few skirmishes, including on the closing Cote d'Aspret-Sarrat, the main contenders all finished safely, with Tadej Pogacar still five minutes and 18 seconds ahead.

Wednesday's Stage 17 sees the peloton tackle a gruelling 178.4km route from Muret to the closing climb up the Col du Portet.

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