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Joy For Aussie Tour de France Rider After German Violently Grabs His Neck

Dare we say it, they were neck and neck across the finish line.

19/07/2017 1:13 PM AEST | Updated 19/07/2017 1:14 PM AEST
PHILIPPE LOPEZ via Getty Images

Australian rider Michael Matthews won the 16th stage of the Tour de France Overnight -- and that's when things got nasty.

German rider Johyn Degenkolb -- who'd been locked in a fierce battle to the finish line in the town of Romans-sur-Isère -- thought things had gotten a little too close in the sprint finish. His reaction? Not exactly gentlemanly.

The 28-year-old reached out and appeared to grab or even punch the neck of the 26-year-old Canberran. Here's the footage.

"I was waiting for the result and he grabbed me on the way past. The officials saw it," the Aussie said after the race. "We'll see what the officials will do about it. I don't think it's very sportsmanlike."

For his part, the German was unrepentant. He claimed that Matthews changed his line near the finish which denied him the opportunity to put in his fastest sprint. Matthews maintained that he had not changed his line, and the footage below appears to verify his argument.

The Tour is still led by three-time winner and defending champion Chris Froome, although his margin is narrow, and any of the top 10 or so riders could still challenge for overall victory. The general classification (leaderboard) is here.

From an Aussie perspective, Matthews is now the main man of interest after the pre-race favourite, Tasmanian Richie Porte, crashed out in the first week.

LB via Getty Images
Chris Graythen via Getty Images

The tour is a race within a race. As well as winning the whole shebang, there is the title of best sprinter up for grabs. Matthews sits second in those standings, after enjoying his second tour stage win in three days.

The tour now moves into the Alps and ends on Sunday in Paris.


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