RODEZ (France) • Australian Michael Matthews won the 14th stage of the Tour de France yesterday as Chris Froome retook the yellow jersey from Fabio Aru.
Matthews won comfortably ahead of Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet of Belgium in the tough uphill sprint finish.
But Aru was caught out well down in the peloton as gaps appeared in the finale, allowing reigning champion Froome to retake the jersey he had lost to the Italian on Thursday and lead by 19 seconds.
Three-time Tour winner Froome kept Aru in sight throughout the day's stage until the final 500m climb, when the Team Sky rider shook off the Italian with a burst of acceleration, following those in the hunt for a stage win to finish seventh, 25 seconds ahead of the Astana rider.
Marooned at the back of the peloton without team-mates in the closing stages, Aru lost touch with the big boys and Sky took full advantage of his misfortune.
Irishman Dan Martin and Colombian Rigoberto Uran were with Froome at the line to strengthen their places in the overall top 10 while others lost pockets of time.
France's Romain Bardet is third at 23 seconds back. Uran sits fourth 29 seconds down, with Froome's Team Sky colleague Mikel Landa 1min 17sec off the pace in fifth place.
Martin once again defied the back problems he has been suffering since a crash on the Mont du Chat last week with a fine ride, and is now only 1:26 off yellow in sixth place. Simon Yates retains the white jersey as the best young rider, seventh overall and 2:02 behind Froome.
There was an early breakaway of five riders but they were never allowed to build a gap greater than three minutes and Thomas Voeckler, Timo Roosen, Maxime Bouet and Reto Hollenstein were absorbed around 25km from the finish line. Thomas de Gendt was named the stage's most aggressive rider for gamely holding off the yellow jersey group until 12km from Rodez.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
TOUR DE FRANCE
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