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Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) took an impressive solo stage victory in Mende on stage 14 of the Tour de France as Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) once again proved to be the strongest of the GC contenders.
Matthews first attacked with 50 kilometers still to race, drawing out a select group of riders from a large breakaway. This leading quartet took its advantage onto the foot of the final climb, and though Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) bridged across to Matthews and briefly dropped him, the Australian had calculated his effort perfectly to claw his way back.
Once Matthews had regained contact with Bettiol, his stage victory seemed assured and he dropped the Italian to finish the final kilometer solo with a comfortable enough advantage to celebrate 250 meters from the line.
Almost15 minutes behind the breakaway, Pogacar attacked on the final climb, distancing all the overall contenders except the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).
Vingegaard and Pogacar, the top two on GC, eventually gained 17 seconds on the next group across the line, which included Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) who currently sits third overall.