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.
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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).