• More than a bike length in it as Matthews beats an elite field of finishers. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Michael Matthews turned the page on years of bad luck in the Tour de France to complete his set of grand tour victories when he won the 10th stage after a royal breakaway.
13 Jul 2016 - 10:00 AM  UPDATED 13 Jul 2016 - 10:03 AM

There was pressure building on Orica-BikeExchange to deliver a stated Tour stage victory with the team appearing out of sorts early in the race.

However it removed that pressure when the man most likely to break the 2016 drought delivered in style after a well executed plan of attack.

Matthews, with three Vuelta and two Giro d'Italia stage wins to his name, outsprinted his breakaway companions after 197km from Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra.

He missed the 2014 Tour after sustaining injuries in training and last year, he abandoned after breaking four ribs. This year there were questions asked of the Orica-BikeExchange commitment to the 25-year-old as rumours of a end-of year transfer to another outfit gained traction.

The relieved team celebrated the victory after the stage with a toast to the newest Australian Tour de France stage winner.

The stage got off to a nervous start on the category-one climb to the Port d'Envalira, as riders were keen to win places in the day's breakaway which took its final shape after about 60 kilometres.

It was a royal break as six of the 15 fugitives had already worn the yellow jersey and nine of them were Tour stage winners.

With 24km left, Sagan's brutal acceleration on a small rise split the group and only seven, including two of Matthews's teammates, remained in front.

Matthews benefited from compatriot and teammate Luke Durbridge's work to keep the chasers at bay and then stayed in Sagan's wheel as his other team mate, Daryl Impey, led the group in the lead-up to the final sprint.

Impey also attacked on the short climb up the Cote de Saint Ferreol close to the finish, forcing Sagan to make efforts that probably left him short of juice in the finale.

Matthews then delivered with an impressive burst of speed over the final 200 metres.

"I would not have won without Luke Durbridge, and Daryl Impey attacking in the climb and leading out the sprint," Matthews said.

Matthews outpaces Sagan to score debut Tour stage
Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) finally added a Tour de France stage to his trophy cabinet, finishing off an impressive Orica-Bike Exchange team effort.