After the finish in Romans-sur-Isère, which Matthews (Team Sunweb) won by a wheel’s length, TV footage caught Degenkolb riding alongside Matthews and appearing to strike him on the back of the head and left ear.
It is assumed that Degenkolb was upset about Matthews’ sprint, and the post-race incident angered the Australian who said “I don’t think it’s very sportsmanlike.”
At the finish of stage 17, outside his team’s hotel, Degenkolb told Cycling Weekly: “We spoke this morning.”
Questioned on what his view was on the situation, the Trek-Segafredo rider refused to go into detail, saying: “Yesterday is yesterday and today is another day.”
The 2015 Paris-Roubaix winner was reluctant to speak about the spat. Asked what he and Matthews spoke about in their exchange, he replied: “I think we have spoken already enough about it. The situation is over. It’s a cleared up situation.”
Degenkolb is likely to have two further chances of beating Matthews before the Tour finishes.
Friday’s stage to Salon-de-Provence should end in a sprint, while Sunday’s stage in Paris is expected to be contested by the remaining sprinters, including green jersey incumbent Matthews, Degenkolb and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).