• Matt White hands Michael Matthews much-needed refreshment for the Orica-GreenEDGE team (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
What’s left of the Orica-GreenEDGE unit remains alive and well as the Tour de France completed its ride through the Pyrenees after Stage 12 overnight.
Cy cling Central

17 Jul 2015 - 9:08 AM  UPDATED 17 Jul 2015 - 10:36 AM

The Australian team, which has been reduced to six riders after a punishing first week, stuck together through some extreme weather, and similarly brutal climbs, as Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha took out the stage, his second this year, in grand style.

Stage 12 report
Rodriguez wins on Plateau de Beille
Joaquim Rodriguez won the 12th stage of the Tour de France as the favourites battled to another exciting stalemate on the Plateau de Beille.

“Today was a punishing day on a number of levels,” Oreica-GreenEDGE sport director Matt White said.

“There was a lot of climbing, after two previous big days of climbing, and also the temperature dropped from about 40 degrees (Celsius) to 16 degrees and rain.”

“Those conditions are tough on any 200-odd kilometre climbing day, but in our condition, with six riders, one recovering from injury and another two from bugs, we stuck together for strength in numbers today.”

The team has remained positive despite its many setbacks, which included losing Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey after Stage 3’s epic crash before Michael Albasini withdrew with a broken arm after a crash in Stage 5.

Added to that, Simon Yates contracted a cold, which sapped priceless energy from his body, but 22-year-old twin brother Adam rode superbly across Stage 10 to finish seventh behind a charging race leader Chris Froome (Sky), giving the team a welcome lift after the first rest day.

“Top 10 in the Tour de France on the first mountain day is a very, very impressive ride, especially with his age and as his first Tour,” White said after that stage.

“He showed a lot of maturity not to panic. It’s easy for young guys or anyone really, when they are riding for the win, to try to go one group too far or push it too far. Once you hit the red line, there is no coming back.

“But Adam controlled well and in the end it was a very classy ride.”

A stage victory remains a goal for the team, with Michael Matthews the most suited to take one of those that remain before the riders hit the Alps next week.

Matthews has been riding with broken ribs since the Stage 3 crash, but showed he is up for the fight when claiming the most combative rider prize after Stage 5.

"It's getting there, so it's definitely on the mend," Matthews said of the injury after Stage 12. "Hopefully it keeps going uphill from here."

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