Tour de France Stage 16: Trouble for Team Quick-Step

Team Sunweb had ensured no breakaway could get away early in the day as they sought to deliver Matthews to the intermediate sprint, and once news came through of Kittel's struggles, they upped the pace further to ensure the Quick-Step Floors rider could not get back.

Two-time Tour victor Alberto Contador was also dropped, a day after his Trek-Segafredo sports director Steven de Jongh told Dutch television this would be the Spaniard's final Tour.

"He grabbed me by the neck". Australian Michael Matthews won the stage in a sprint to the line.

"It was not very sportsmanlike".

Strong winds throughout the stage and a twisting route, particularly late on, meant there was an ever-present risk of echelons forming, meaning the riders towards the top of the overall standings had a nervous day.

But German Degenkolb was angered by the line Matthews took in the finish and waved his hand at the Aussie as they crossed the line. "The officials saw it".

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With the race now in money time, with stages set to decide the final podium, Froome went straight to the point with his aggressive racing.

"I saw the sprint on TV afterwards".

Overall, Froome leads Italian Fabio Aru by 18 seconds.

Besides Martin, fifth overall this morning and 1 minute 12 seconds off the race lead, riders on the wrong side of it included Louis Meintjes of UAE Team Emirates, eighth overall at the start of the day and second to Orica-Scott's Simon Yates in the best young rider's competition.

The defending champion feared he would lose the yellow jersey due to a damaged wheel on stage 15, but he recovered to keep his advantage intact after Michal Kwiatkowski removed his wheel and fitted it on the Brit's bike to save him time.

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