Double stage winner Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) has taken over the lead in the points classification after yesterday’s seventeenth stage of the Tour de France.
The Australian had been reducing the gap to previous green jersey wearer Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors) over the past number of days, as he had also been focusing on collecting intermediate sprint points in addition to looking for stage wins.
With the news that Kittel had to abandon the race yesterday after suffering from illness before crashing just twenty kilometres into the stage, it meant that Matthews would take over the green jersey.
Matthews now leads the classification with a total of 364 points, 160 points ahead of his nearest rival, André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and 206 points ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin).
After the stage Matthews said: “After getting 50 points yesterday I knew that it was game on. I knew beforehand that I had to be active to get those 20 points today and was aware that even if I did get those points it was still going to be difficult. You never want to see a guy out of a race like this, it’s been such a good battle up to this point and I hope Kittel is ok.”
Team Sunweb’s Tour de France coach Aike Visbeek added: “We’ve put in a big effort into taking the points at the intermediate sprints to close the gap towards the green jersey. This isn’t the way that we wanted to take the lead after all of the work we had put in as a team for the points. We really put the pressure on and were prepared to fight all the way to Paris for this jersey.”