BREAKTRHOUGH VICTORY: Australia’s Michael Matthews celebrates after winning the 10th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197km from Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra, to Revel, France.
BREAKTRHOUGH VICTORY: Australia’s Michael Matthews celebrates after winning the 10th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197km from Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra, to Revel, France. Peter Dejong

Aussie rider records maiden stage win in Tour

A PEP talk from wife Kat has helped propel Australia's Michael Matthews to his first stage win at the Tour de France.

With his confidence down after struggling in the toughest Pyrenean stage - and two crashes in the past month - Matthews thought about retiring from the race on Monday's rest day.

Fuelling his self-doubt too was his luckless record in the race: a crash two years ago forced his withdrawal days before the start and in his debut last year he broke three ribs in stage three but, incredibly, still managed to finish the Tour.

"My wife and I had a good talk, and she really motivated me to keep pushing," Matthews told media after downing world champion Peter Sagan and Norway's Edvald Boassen in a sprint finish to 197km stage 10.

"It's unbelievable. It's only just sinking in. I was close to giving in at this race after I had two bad crashes two years and one year ago. I thought maybe this race is not for me, but today my dream came true."

The victory means Matthews, the winner of three stages at the Vuelta a Espana and two on the Giro d'Italia, has joined the club of riders to have won on the three Grand Tours.

The Australian paid tribute to Team Orica-Bike Exchange teammates Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey for attacking in the climb and leading out the sprint, saying he could not have won without them.

"We have such a strong group of guys here," he said.

"The way we work as a team, whoever's up on that day we give that rider 110%. You could see Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey today, they gave me their everything."

Heading into tonight's 11th stage, Britain's Chris Froome is 16 seconds ahead of compatriot Adam Yates overall, with Ireland's Daniel Martin a further three seconds away.

Sagan took the world title ahead of Matthews, the 2010 under-23 world champion, in Richmond, Virginia, last September.



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