Australian sprinter Michael Matthews described John Degenkolb as acting unsportsmanlike after Matthews won his second stage of the 2017 Tour de France today.
Matthews (Team Sunweb) narrowly beat Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) at the finish in Romans-sur-Isère for his second stage win.
After they crossed the line, video footage shows Degenkolb raising his arm towards Matthews.
“I was waiting for the result and he grabbed me on the way past,” said Matthews. “The officials saw it. We’ll see what the officials will do about it.
“I don’t think it’s very sportsmanlike. From my perspective, I don’t think I did anything wrong. I didn’t change my line, I sprinted in a straight line. I’m not sure what was wrong with Degenkolb, but that’s up to him.”
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Degenkolb gave his opinion after the stage where he felt that Matthews had deliberately closed a gap that Degenkolb was trying to get through.
“Matthews did not hold his line in the sprint, and that cost me the chance for victory today,” stated Degenkolb. “I was on his wheel, in the perfect position to launch the sprint at 200 metres, and I started the sprint. I clearly came with more speed from his wheel, and he saw me on the right side and closed the gap on the right side. It made me stop the sprint – stop sprinting for the victory.
“I felt like I had the legs to win today. It was very clear he went off his line into my line. In the heat of the situation, you are immediately angry if the chance for a win has been taken away when you know you have the legs to overtake him. It’s very disappointing.”
Matthews reduced the gap to green jersey wearer Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors) to just 29 points.