Australian Michael Matthews wins stage 14 of the Tour de France, wife’s advice

Australian Michael Mathews was in contention for Stage 14 of the 2022 Tour de France, but his seasoned star couldn’t have made it on his own.

Australian Michael Matthews won stage 14 of the 2022 Tour de France, ending a five-year drought.

The Australian won the 192km run southwest of Saint-Étienne after battling Italian rider Alberto Bettiol on the last hill, finishing stages 14 and 16 at the 2017 Tour for the last time.

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After three days in the mountains and a tense struggle on Friday, the accumulated weariness was exacerbated when the road temperature reached 60°C as the race ran through rural hilly terrain with dry stone walls throughout.

The sweaty peloton calmed down, racing through narrow roads filled with noisy fans into the deserted countryside, Matthews and 20 other riders pulled away.

The first time the 31-year-old Matthews tried to get rid of his comrades, Bettiol caught him and captured him.

The inspired Aussie rallied, caught up with Bettiol and left him behind to take his fourth Tour de France stage victory by a clear margin.

Matthews credited his wife for the tactics that bridged the four-year gap in Tour victories.

“My wife said, ‘If you want to win, try something else that people don’t expect from you,'” he said.

“So that’s what I did. I hope my wife and my daughter are proud of me today.

“I wanted to show my daughter why I’m away so often and why we sacrifice so much.”

Overall leader Jonas Wingegaard followed Tadej Pogacar’s attack all the way to the finish of stage 14, when the defending champion tried, unsuccessfully, to buy time from his Danish rival on another busy day of baking.

After only 40 kilometers, Pogacar tried to attack before Jumbo Vingegor’s team knocked down the Slovenian from the UAE.

“This is a race. I have tried and will continue to do so,” said Pogacar, who was 2 minutes 22 seconds behind Wingegaard.

“Pogacar left early when I was napping,” the player in the yellow jersey admitted. “But my team pulled hard and brought it back.”

Ineos pair Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates lost 20 seconds but remained third and fifth respectively with 2:43 and 4:06 respectively.

Frenchman Romain Bardet finished the day fourth overall with a time of 3m03 in his home region, where banners with his name hung on buildings, walls and trees.

The searing heat made the asphalt soft at some corners, and about 20 minutes before the peloton passed, 2,000 liters of cold water were poured onto the new roads.

It was very hot, I think 40C (air), mostly on the final section near Mende. But I don’t mind the heat, I can handle it quite well,” Wingegaard said.

Sunday’s stage in Carcassonne will see the heat peak to three days in the Pyrenees next week.

“I have great respect for Tadey, but maybe now I will attack him,” said the Dane.

Originally published as Australian Michael Matthews wins stage 14 of the Tour de France