Former points winner Michael Matthews found himself in a war of words with South African road race champion Daryl Impey as the Australian's bid to reclaim the green jersey he won in 2017 took a big hit following Peter Sagan's Stage 5 victory in Colmar.
"Imps, come on bro," shot Matthews at Impey following the 28-year-old Canberran's seventh-place result. "What the f*ck, bro?"
"What did I do, bro?" recoiled Impey.
"You didn't let me in," said Matthews.
"Sorry?" questioned Impey. "You're not on my team, bro."
"We could've helped each other," replied Matthews.
"This is racing, bro," concluded Impey.
Despite moving back into second place on points Wednesday, Matthews is now 47 points adrift of Sagan in green. It was a finish ideally suited for Matthews, who hoped to become the third Australian to win in Colmar following victories from Neil Stephens in 1997 and Heinrich Haussler in 2009.
“We hoped for the win today and we did all we could to make it happen," said Sunweb's general classification contender Wilco Kelderman, who assumes the role of team leader following the withdrawal of injured Tom Dumoulin prior to the race.
"We took the race into our hands to go for it and I think we can be proud of how we worked during the stage. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out in the final, but we still have more chances here and we’ll keep fighting to make it happen.”
Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek added: “The team [was] really strong today. We needed to be in a good position entering the roundabout in the final 500 metres, but Michael lost [Nicolas Roche] and had to try to make up places which in the chaos and wind, wasn’t so easy.
"That cost us a good result and meant we couldn’t sprint for victory," Visbeek continued. "We’ll keep trying and with good teamwork, like we saw during the stage, are confident a top result is possible.”