Matthews: Third feels like a victory

Sunweb rider picks stage 14 as best chance for Tour de France win

Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) now has five top 10 finishes at the Tour de France, but his third place finish in Nuits-Saint-Georges felt like a victory, according to the Australian.

Matthews has done better than third, he finished second to Peter Sagan in Longwy on stage 3, but that was in a finale that was much better suited to him. Up against some of the fastest riders in the peloton, Matthews was able to duke it out with them on the wide, flat finish.

"We waited and waited, we did exactly like we said in the meeting before and I think we have to be happy for third," said Matthews. "We knew that we needed to stay focused and stick together inside the final. We had a plan, and we stuck to it, and for us this definitely feels like a win."

There will be plenty more opportunities for Matthews, both on the flat and on some slightly hillier stages. Following the stage, he picked stage 14 to Rodez as the one that gives him the best opportunity to take home a victory. The 181km stage features two category three climbs in the final 50 kilometres, plus an unclassified ascent into Bonnecombe and with 500 metres to go the road rises sharply towards the line. It's a stage that suits him well, and he is full of confidence after stage 7.

"We have a really strong team here which is focused solely around a solid lead-out, and after following our plan to perfection, we were able to take a good result. In this race there's no giving up, as long as you keep trying then something good will come, and that's exactly what happened today."

The sprint competition will take a brief break, before resuming with two flat rides on stages 10 and 11. After such a dominant show of force in the opening week, Marcel Kittel will be the odds-on favourite to take both of those days. Having closed the gap to the German, does he think he can beat him?

"That's a difficult one," said Matthews.

On its second weekend, the Tour de France moves from Burgundy to the Jura mountains, where the general classification riders and rouleurs will get their chance.

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