Nature break cost me stage win: Matthews

Flecha breaks down stage 14 summit finish

It left the LottoNL-Jumbo rider 6 minutes 39 seconds behind general classification leader Chris Froome.

Froome lost nearly a minute due to a damaged wheel before the climb of the Col de Peyra Taillade, presenting general classification rivals Fabio Aru (Astana) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) with a great opportunity.

Froome remains as the overall leader, with Italian national champion Fabio Aru still lying in second place 18 seconds behind. With the way Froome and Team Sky are riding now, it's going to take a team effort to give someone else a shot at the overall lead.

Earlier in 2016, he had surgery on his left knee, then sat out the French Open because of a bad back, ending a record streak of participating in 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments.

"It gives us cards to play, especially when Astana don't necessarily have numbers on the climbs".

The win moves Federer past both Pete Sampras and William Renshaw, who each won seven titles at the grass-court major, for the most men's titles in the history of the event first held in 1877.

After Nieve peeled off, Froome was forced to chase alone before Mikel Landa answered questions about his loyalty to the cause by dropping out of the lead group to finish the job, and Froome clung on as Bardet tried a brief attack before the summit.

Martin got up, dusted himself down and got to the finish of that ninth stage, but 1min 15sec behind Froome and other overall contenders.

"I heard that Chris Froome had been abused at times during yesterday's stage".

"It was a nervous day", Froome said of the crashes.

"If I hadn't reached that front group by the top of that climb, I don't believe I would have made it to the finish line in yellow". If things stay as they are, Froome's lead, coupled with his strength in Marseille, should be enough to secure victory. "I said before the start it would be good if a Frenchman won".

"I was trying to get some seconds there".

"AG2R had a great ride but, at some point, Chris is going to come back up, he had (team mate Mikel) Landa (helping him)".

The big loser of the day was Colombia's Nairo Quintana, who dropped out of the overall top 10.

"Given he was a bit far back in standings, he had to try something", said Aru. They look at each other and I am a little further back.

But he bounced back in style on Friday and now appears to be a genuine challenger again.

John Trevorrow celebrate's his long-service award at the Tour de France with his mate, Orica-Scott team owner Gerry Ryan and his wife Val.

"For me, if we risk everything and it ends up in fifth place because we rolled the dice and it went the wrong way, c'est la vie", his Cannondale-Drapac team manager Jonathan Vaughters said.

Those chasing a breakaway will also be happy with the stage profile, according to the same source: "The roads of the day are perfectly known by the amateur riders of the Ardechoise cyclosportive, with a topography that could give confidence to breakaway riders".



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