Tour de France: Michael Matthews pedals to victory with help from teammates

"I got many points, Orica had three strong riders [in the breakaway, including Matthews]".

He's crossed the finish line first three times already at this Tour, taking his career total up to 29 stage wins but the 31-year-old Briton is eager for more on the 162.5km mostly flat run from Carcassonne.

With his morale low, Matthews said he was comforted by his wife during Monday's rest day in Andorra.

"Of course I was looking forward to doing Ventoux, it's the most iconic climb, the most legendary climb in this year's race", he said. I just thought this race is maybe not for me, and Id focus on other races.

The peloton arrived six seconds later while Froome also gleaned another six seconds in time bonuses.

Moments after crossing the line, he learned race officials had shortened stage 12 - due to be a summit finish on Ventoux, the so-called "Beast of Provence", because of dangerously high winds.

"Michel Matthews is not coming back to this team next year, but who do we work for?" asked Matt White, Orica-BikeExchange head sports director.

Tinkoff, working for Peter Sagan, put the hammer down midway through the stage and split the peloton in the crosswind. You could have predicted from the beginning it would happen. "I'm actually happy to have had the green as long as I've had it".

This stage has a similar parcour to that of the last time the riders completed the climb of Ventoux at the Tour, back in 2013, where Chris Froome rode away from Quintana in the final few kilometres to solidify his GC lead.

"I'm just enjoying my racing".

"The guys did a great job keeping me up front just in case things were to kick off".

As they dropped back into France from Andorra a 15-man break assembled, with Sagan, Giro d'Italia victor Vincenzo Nibali, and stage seven victor Steve Cummings among their number.

Froome admitted he had no idea what effect his latest show of strength could have on his performance tomorrow when the Tour peloton tackles the Mont Ventoux, France's single hardest climb.

Matthews' teammates Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey were critical in his maiden Tour triumph.

Inside the last 15km, the peloton eased up to allow the breakaway their fun and it became a battle between the front seven. Van Avermaet finished fourth.

"It was never the plan to go for a breakaway today", Matthews added.

"When they went, Froomey responded straightaway and behind him there was a gap, so I got up to him", Thomas said.

"He's pretty quick. When he has an opportunity to win, he usually makes the best of it".

Yates was usually without team-mates while trying to stick with the contenders in the Pyrenees, but can expect more support from now on. We can't pin it on a single day.

With 32km to go, the field began to bunch up once again, before Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) - fancied by some to win this stage - suffered with mechanical issues that dashed his chances of a win.

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