Matthews sprints to stage 16 win, Froome maintains lead in the wind

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Sunweb rode hard in the first climb of the day as Kittel was dropped, making sure he would not come back, and they collected their third win in four stages after Matthews won stage 14 and Frenchman Warren Barguil prevailed on stage 13.

A video shortly after the finish line, where the Australian won ahead of Degenkolb by a wheel's length, shows the incident, which will not be digested well at a Tour de France that has already saw Peter Sagan disqualified for irregular sprinting.

Degenkolb complained that Matthews did not hold his line in the sprint, but the Australian was adamant he raced fairly. "I left a space between me and the barrier", Matthews said, adding that Degenkolb had grabbed him by the neck after the finish. "The officials saw it".

The Tour de France is the world's biggest and most iconic cycling race.

After a brutal Tour de France where he performed with immense credit George Bennett just couldn't go
CHRIS GRAYTHEN GETTY IMAGES After a brutal Tour de France where he performed with immense credit George Bennett just couldn't go

It all went out the window with the crosswinds on Stage 16.

Behind Froome - who maintains a slender 18-second advantage of Italian national champion Fabio Aru - there were changes in top 10 at Martin's expense.

It was a bad day for Quick-Step Floors as Ireland's Dan Martin, who started the day in fifth place overall, lost 51 seconds after a late peloton split as crosswinds swept the roads in the Rhone valley. They'd taken five stage wins behind sprinter Marcel Kittel, who also established a solid lead in the green jersey competition. I don't think it's very sportsmanlike.

"From then on it was an eight-man team time trial to the finish and I was able to finish off the job in the last 500 metres".

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