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Tour de France: Michael Matthews wins as Chris Froome keeps lead

Michael Matthews, Peter Sagan, Tour de France, stage 10
Image: Michael Matthews beat Peter Sagan (right) into second place on stage 10

Breakaway rider Michael Matthews claimed the first Tour de France victory of his career on stage 10, as Chris Froome retained the overall lead.

Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) beat Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) into second place and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) into third after six surviving members of the day's 15-man escape group contested a sprint finish in Revel.

Froome (Team Sky) followed safely in the peloton 9min 39sec behind the leaders to ensure he remains 16 seconds ahead of second-placed Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) and 19 seconds in front of third-placed Dan Martin (Etixx - Quick-Step) at the top of the general classification.

Tour de France standings
Tour de France standings

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Matthews, who has now won stages of all three grand tours, said: "It's unbelievable. The emotion is just sinking in: I just won a stage of the Tour de France. 

"I was really close to giving in on this race. I just thought this race is maybe not for me and focus on other races, but today my dream has come true."

Michael Matthews, Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Tour de France
Image: From left, Matthews, Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet and Edvald Boasson Hagen contest the sprint finish

Stage 10 started in Escaldes Engordany in the Andorran Pyrenees and took the riders back down into France on a 197km route that looked certain to end in a bunch sprint.

However, when the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Mikel Landa (Team Sky) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) joined Sagan and Matthews in a high-pedigree breakaway, the sprint teams who didn't have riders in the escape foolishly allowed them to open up a lead of more than six minutes and were unable to bridge the gap.

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Knowing the breakaway would survive, Sagan attacked with 25km to go to reduce the group to just seven riders, but it was Matthews who assumed the upper hand when two of his team-mates, Daryl Impey and Luke Durbridge, also made the final selection.

Despite Orica-BikeExchange's numerical superiority, Sagan bizarrely opted to do much of the pace-setting for the remainder of the stage and Impey duly made him pay by attacking no fewer than four times on a late 1.8km climb and a flat last 3km, forcing the world champion into a tiring chase on each occasion.

Peter Sagan escapes on stage 10 of the 2016 Tour de France
Image: Sagan did the bulk of the pace-setting on the front of the breakaway

Sagan was consequently drained for the finish and never threatened to overhaul Matthews once the 25-year-old Australian had hit the front, although a late surge did take him past Boasson Hagen into second place.

The consolation for Sagan was the points he received at both the finish and intermediate sprint took him back above Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) at the top of the points classification. Sagan now has 242 points, while Cavendish is second with 204.

Chris Froome, Ian Stannard, Tour de France
Image: Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey on a relaxed day for the overall contenders

Back in the peloton, Froome and the other contenders for overall victory enjoyed a relaxed day after the sprint teams were forced to do almost all of the chasing on the front.

The Tour continues on Wednesday with a flat, 162.5km 11th stage from Carcassonne to Montpellier. Find out more about the route in our race guide and follow the stage with our live blog from 1pm BST.

Stage 10 result

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange, 4:22:38
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff, same time
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, st
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, st
5 Samuel Dumuolin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
6 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-BikeExchange, +2sec
7 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange, +1:10
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, +3:01
9 Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Movistar, +3:10
10 Tony Galopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal, st

General classification

1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 49:08:20
2 Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange, +16sec
3 Dan Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step, +19
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +23
​5 Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha, +37
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +44
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, st
8 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, st
9 Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre-Merida, +55
10 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +1:01

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