We’re feeling a bit smug, this morning, on the eve of Stage Three we said; ‘It could be one for the breakaway but GreenEDGE may control it for Clarke and Michael Matthews – and maybe Yates?’
And they man they call ‘Bling’ due to his penchant for jewellery proved us correct.
The 23 year-old from Canberra again proved that in an uphill finish, if his motivation is good – there’s a little question mark over his grinta – then he’s very hard to beat.
He plays up to his nickname, living in Monaco – where else? – and the last we heard was driving a Porsche Cayenne – so we guess he has to keep those win bonuses coming?
He won the Australian Novices Road Race Championship in 2006 and by 2008 was winning junior races at the highest level in Italy and Luxembourg.
In 2009 he rode for the Australian Institute of Sport team and took second in the Australian U23 National Championship road race and third in the time trial – there was also second that year in the major Italian U23 race, the GP Liberazione.
The following season in the colours of Jayco he took two bronzes at the U23 Nationals – road and TT, two stages in the Tour of Langkawi, a stage in the Tour of Japan, two stages in the tough Ringerike in Norway before capping the year with the U23 world road title in Geelong.
Rabobank snapped Matthews up for 2011 and there was no ‘settling in,’ he began to win from the start with a stage in the Tour Down Under, a stage in the Tour of Murcia and the Rund um Koln.
Matthews was with the Dutch team in 2012 and the wins came in the Clasica Almeria and a Tour of Utah stage.
Last year he made the logical move to Aussie squad Orica-GreenEDGE and immediately took two medals at the Elite Nationals, bronze in the time trial and silver in the road race then there were two stages in Utah and another brace of stages in the Vuelta – exceptional for a young rider.
This year has been another beautiful one for the man who has all it takes to be world road champion, one day.
He’s won stages in the Pais Vasco and Tour de Slovenie and in the Giro he shared in his team’s opening TTT win, wore pink and took a stage with the maglia rosa on his back.
He’s now won a stage and worn the leader’s jersey in two out of the season’s three Grand Tours.
It was good to see Contador make the split today and Froome is feeling frisky whilst Quintana keeps his powder dry (copyright Dave Duffield) for when the real climbs come.
Stage Four tomorrow is flat early but with a second cat. climb late in the day will hurt the pure sprinters too much; Matthews could win again – or maybe Sagan will show us that he can still finish higher than second in a Grand Tour Stage ?