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Michael Matthews abandons the Tour de France with illness

Joe Robinson
11 Jul 2018

Australian sprinter unable to start Stage 5 to Quimper as green jersey path further opens up for Peter Sagan

Defending green sprinter's jersey winner Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) has withdrawn from the Tour de France following overnight sickness.

The Australian sprinter struggled with vomiting and lack of sleep last night and this morning before deciding, alongside the team, to abandon the race before the Stage 5 start in Lorient.

Team Sunweb confirmed the rider's withdrawal in a tweet.

Having to abandon so early will be a gutting feeling for the 27-year-old who had started the Tour in reasonable form. On the opening day's sprint to Fontenay-le-Comte, Matthews finished seventh before helping Team Sunweb to fifth on the Stage 3 team time trial in Cholet.

The abandonment of Matthews is likely to add to the inevitability of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) securing a record-equalling sixth green sprinter's jersey come Paris on Sunday 29th July.

Sagan is currently leading the sprint classification by four points from double stage winner Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) with a total of 143.

That current total is 71 points better than third placed Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates).

It is expected that Sagan will increase his lead in the competition today as Stage 5 heads along a hilly route to the port town of Quimper in the north-west of France.

The five classified climbs en route are expected to be too much for the like of Gaviria to handle paving the way for more rounded figures such as Sagan.

As for Matthews and Team Sunweb, losing the punchy sprinter will only direct their focus more on Tom Dumoulin. The Dutchman is riding the Tour with tentative General Classification hopes following his attempted Giro d'Italia defence in May.

However with the chances of stage wins now slimmer with no Matthews, pressure may build on Dumoulin to produce results at this Tour.