REVEL, France, July 12 – Kenyan born-Briton Chris Froome said he was happy to see Tuesday’s 10th stage of the Tour de France offer overall contenders a relative break as the quest for green jersey honours heated up.
Peter Sagan, who rode like a man with ants in his pants all day, took second on the stage and also won the intermediate sprint to take back the green points jersey from Mark Cavendish, a winner of three of the first six stages.
And that meant Froome and his yellow jersey rivals could take a back seat on the 184km ride from Andorra to Revel.
Asked how he felt, the 31-year-old Briton said: “A bit more fresh after (Monday’s) rest day.
“But clearly today was for the sprinters going for the green jersey.
“Congratulations to Peter Sagan, he did a great race today.”
Froome is looking forward to another relatively peaceful stage on Wednesday before the yellow jersey duel takes centre stage on Thursday with the finish up Mont Ventoux, followed by Friday’s 37km individual time-trial.
“Tomorrow is another day for the sprinters’ teams.
“Of course my next objective is Ventoux and the time-trial the next day.”
Sagan said he was happy to reclaim the green jersey and seemed unperturbed at missing out on a stage victory again.
He has now finished second on Tour stages 17 times since 2012, while securing just five victories.
“I’m happy because I have the green jersey,” said the world champion from Slovakia.
“The stage went as it did, I couldn’t win because (Matthews) was too good.”
Matthews certainly was, reaching a top speed of 66.82kph in his sprint to the line, according to Tour organisers.
“It’s true I’ve had many second places but I think it was a positive day today,” added Sagan.
“I got many points, Orica had three strong riders (in the breakaway, including Matthews).
“It could have been worse today. There were many riders (in the breakaway) who didn’t ride (at the front) so I’m happy with the way it went.”
Someone who wasn’t so happy was German sprinter Andre Greipel, who was dropped on the lengthy opening climb at the start of the race.
“The good thing about a 24km climb at the start from @LeTour stage 10 was that I could eat my breakfast twice…#onthelimit,” he wrote on Twitter, sharing more than most would appreciate.