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Matthews gets up for ninth in fast finish to stage six of the Tour de France – Team BikeExchange

30-year-old Australian Michael Matthews sprinted to his third top-10 finish of this year’s Tour de France with ninth place in a fast and hectic finish to stage six.

The stage always looked set for a routine sprint day, but a group of eight riders had different ideas as they attacked away from the peloton at kilometre zero. However, with a number of teams unhappy with the composition of the escapees, the move was eventually hauled back and just two riders were allowed up the road.

The peloton made no mistake in bringing the duo back in the closing kilometres as the sprint teams teed it up for another sprint finish into Châteauroux. Matthews surfed the wheels in the finale but was boxed in slightly for the dash for the line, finishing in ninth place behind stage winner Mark Cavendish.

Michael Matthews
“Today was never really going to suit me that well, a pure flat sprint with 1.5km straight to the finish and it was always going to be difficult without a lead-out train and not being the fastest guy here, but we gave it a crack. 

Unfortunately, all three of us that were doing the lead-out/ sprint got caught behind a crash with 3km to go on a roundabout. We got really pushed back and once we got back going, I was around 60th in the bunch. We all lost each other so I just tried to make up as many places as I could to try and get back to the front. I got back there, I tried to do a sprint but didn’t have much left so not a great day, but we will try again tomorrow.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director
“The stage was short and fast. There was an interesting break at the start of the day, which could have affected the yellow jersey, so it made for a very fast 30 or 40 kilometres until that break was reeled in.

Then it was pretty straight forward, the course was pretty uncomplicated today, so we saw a very, very fast run in.

In the green jersey competition we’ve lost a considerable amount of points to Mark Cavendish, but it’s all very tight in second, third and fourth place as we approach the mountains.

Tomorrow is the longest stage of the Tour, 245 kilometres, and it’s a pretty tough final, so it’s not a day for the pure sprinters.”

2021 Tour de France – Stage 6 Results:
1. Mark Cavendish 3:17:36
2. Jasper Philipsen ST
3. Nacer Bouhanni ST
9. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) ST

General Classification result after stage 6:
1. Mathieu van der Poel 20:09:17
2. Tadej Pogacar +0:08
3. Wout van Aert +0:30
22. Esteban Chaves (Team BikeExchange) +3:24

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Matthews fights to fourth on another frantic & thrilling sprint stage on day four of the Tour de France – Team BikeExchange

Australian sprinter Michael Matthews looked to go one better than the opening stage of the Tour de France where he picked up second place, as he battled his way through a thrilling finale on today’s fourth stage, to take a strong fourth place on the line after a late solo escapee was caught nail-bitingly close, inside the last 50metres, with Mark Cavendish claiming the victory.

Like all previous sprint stages, the final was fast, frantic, and chaotic with every team fighting to position their sprinter at the front and keep their GC leaders out of trouble. Slovenian rider Luka Mezgec worked to position Matthews in the final kilometres as the pace picked up, with it looking uncertain as to whether the lone leader could hold off the peloton.

Scrapping for the best route to the finish line, Matthews launched out of the wheels and took a strong fourth place, which moves him up to third overall in the points classification standings after also picking up fourth place in the day’s intermediate sprint.

The team’s climbers all remained safe and survived the stage without any problems with Esteban Chaves currently the highest on the GC for the squad in 15 place at 52 seconds. Attention now turns to tomorrow’s first test for the classification race with the first individual time trial of this year’s tour.

Michael Matthews – 4th place
“That was like every other Tour de France sprint; hectic. With the resources we had there with just me and Luka Mezgec in the final, we had to wait and then make a run at the end. Luka did a great job positioning me in the final there and I finished fourth. Of course I came to win, but I have to be satisfied with fourth place today.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director
“It was a good sprint, a sprint that suited Michael’s characteristics more than a plain flat sprint. He took fourth place on the stage so it was a good result and we have also moved up to third place in the green jersey competition ahead of a well-deserved rest day for some tomorrow on the TT Day.”

Lucas Hamilton
“It will be nice tomorrow not to have 180 riders around me, my TT hasn’t been great this year but it is a big part of this tour so all I can do is put my best effort in and see what I can do. Then on the other side of it we are getting closer and closer to the mountains which I am really looking forward to.”

2021 Tour de France – Stage 4 results:
1. Mark Cavendish 3:20:17
2. Nacer Bouhanni ST
3. Jasper Philipsen ST
4. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) ST

General Classification result after stage 4:
1. Mathieu van der Poel 16:19:10
2. Julian Alaphilippe +0:08
3. Richard Carapaz +0:31
15. Esteban Chaves (Team BikeExchange) +0:52

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Matthews takes 18th on a chaotic crash marred final to stage three at the Tour de France – Team BikeExchange

Stage one’s second place finisher Michael Matthews avoided the crashes on today’s chaotic finale to stage three of the Tour de France but missed his opportunity to sprint, after being caught behind one of the touch downs with just over three kilometres to go.

Despite being in good position with teammate Luka Mezgec, a tight corner caused a massive pile up and effected the outcome of the stage, with many riders caught behind the crash and a significant split occurring.

In the end, 17 riders survived and went on ahead to contest the sprint, with Matthews crossing the line in 18th place, the best of the rest in the second group on the road.

The team’s climbers Lucas Hamilton and Esteban Chaves finished amongst the other main GC contenders, 26seconds behind the stage winner, which Richard Carapaz the only main GC contender to profit from the day, finding himself in the front selection and taking extra time on his contenders. With 18 stages still remaining, it is all still very much to play for.

Michael Matthews
“I guess the final basically started after the intermediate sprint, quite narrow, twisty roads and I think everybody basically knew about the corner when the crash actually happened. So, it put stress in the peloton with everybody wanting to be further forward into that corner and I was just behind the crash.

Me and Luka were around the top 15 when the crash happened and everyone in front and around us crashed and we just didn’t get back to the front.

That ruined my race because I was stuck in between the front group and the peloton trying to chance across by myself.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director 
“It was as predicted a nervous day; the final was as tricky as we expected and some major crashes that has taken out key riders which split the group. Michael was unfortunately caught behind the final crash there so was best of the result. 

Again, we lost a little bit of time to some guys but gained sometimes on others, so it has been the story of the first week. You need a little bit of luck but also you have to make it. There’s a long way to go but we are certainly playing the long game. Things will settle down eventually.”

2021 Tour de France – Stage 3:
1. Tim Merlier 4:01:28
2. Jasper Philipsen ST
3. Nacer Bouhanni ST
18. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:14

General Classification after stage 3:
1. Mathieu van der Poel 12:58:53
2. Julian Alaphilippe +0:08
3. Richard Carapaz +0:31
14. Esteban Chaves (Team BikeExchange) +0:52

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Matthews kick starts the Tour de France by storming to a stunning second place – Team BikeExchange

Australian rider Michael Matthews got Team BikeExchange off to a stunning start, storming to a stellar second place on the explosive uphill finish to today’s opening stage of the 2021 Tour de France in Landernaeu.

World champion Julian Alaphilippe stole the show, launching a damaging attack with 2.5km remaining on the steep uphill slopes. With a long way still to go, Matthews and the other race favourites stalled for a second, which proved to be enough for Alaphilippe to open up a gap and ultimately hold on until the finish line by eight seconds.

The 197km day was filled with drama with two huge crashes effecting the rhythm of the race. Multiple Team BikeExchange riders were caught out including Matthews, who came down in the first touchdown, but thankfully was uninjured and with the help of his teammates was able to get back into contention ahead of the final.

The 30-year-old rider now sits in second place on the general classification after picking up bonus seconds on the line, with the result boosting the team’s confidence in Matthews’ form despite a bittersweet feeling having the stage victory and Maillot Jaune within reach.

Michael Matthews – 2nd place:
“The goal was to win today, but there was just one guy stronger than me. I guess I have sort of mixed feelings, obviously you want to win, but it’s also nice to start the Tour de France already with a podium position. I think it sets the tone for us as a team going forward for these three weeks.
 
He (Alaphilippe) always does this (attacking early) and it’s the best way for him to win the race, so his attack wasn’t unexpected that’s for sure.
 
It was a tense day, and I went down in the first crash. It was a stupid sort of crash, one of those ones where it was starting to get nervous in the peloton and getting fast towards the finish and someone touches the wheel and I think 80 guys went down.
 
Tomorrow I think the final climb is actually harder, but better for me. We can only take confidence from today’s performance.”

Matt White (Sport Director):
“It’s been a bittersweet day. Second place was a solid start for us, but we have some injured riders and fingers crossed we are starting with a full team in the morning.

Michael played the final well, he knows his ability on a climb like that. Alaphilippe certainly showed he was the best today. But Michael has shown his form is in a good place so tomorrow is another day which suits the same riders, so we are looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge.”

2021 Tour de France – Stage 1 Results:
1. Julian Alaphilippe 4:39:05
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:08
3. Primoz Roglic +0:08

General Classification after stage 1:
1. Julian Alaphilippe 4:39:55
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:12
3. Primoz Roglic +0:14

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com