Copy of 2022-07-16T151723Z_2001016227_UP1EI7G16GYDZ_RTRMADP_3_CYCLING-FRANCE-1657985893503
Michael Matthews celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win stage 14 of the Tour de France. Image Credit: REUTERS

Mende: Michael Matthews of Australia posted a solo win on the 14th stage of the Tour de France after a long breakaway and a tremendous effort in the last climb today.

It was Matthews’ fourth stage win at cycling’s biggest race.

The Australian was part of a group of 23 riders who broke from the pack after a frenetic start to the stage punctuated by a flurry of attacks on hilly ground from Saint-Etienne to Mende.

Matthews, from the BikeExchange-Jayco team, launched a solo effort about 50 kilometers from the finish and reduced the leading group to just four men.

Punishing ascent

He was joined by Italian rider Alberto Bettiol in the Cote de la Croix Neuve, a short but punishing three-kilometer ascent with a gradient of more than 10% followed by a short descent across the airfield to the finish line.

Matthews fought hard to stay in Bettiol’s wheel then countered his rival near the top of the climb and never looked back. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot completed the podium.

Overall leader Jonas Vingegaard tracked Tadej Pogacar's attack all the way to the finish line as the defending champion tried but failed to put time into his Danish rival.