One week after finishing a breakout Tour de France performance that saw him win two stages and bring home the points classification in Paris, Team Sunweb rider Michael Matthews was back at it, scoring a podium finish at the RideLondon Classic, a one-day 183km WorldTour race that started and finished in the capital city of England. The Australian sprinted to third place after another strong show of teamwork by his Team Sunweb squad.
The RideLondon event featured a hilly route with five categorized climbs on the outskirts of the city. A four-man break escaped early and gained a maximum lead of four minutes before Team Sunweb took control to chase them down at the midway point of the race. The second half of the race saw a flurry of attacks, with the peloton fracturing on the challenging climbs. Team Sunweb was well positioned, with Matthews and several teammates staying at the front of the action late.
“It was good teamwork all day from everyone,” said Team Sunweb coach Rudi Kemna. “We controlled things throughout the day and helped with the chase. Michael always had a rider with him, which was a great situation.”
In the finale, German lead-out rider Nikias Arndt opened up the sprint for Matthews. Though Matthews said he didn’t have his best sprinting legs, he still managed an impressive third-place finish on his TCR Advanced SL team bike behind Alexander Kristoff and Magnus Cort Nielsen, who finished first and second respectively.
“I had a lot of confidence coming into the race today, but unfortunately the legs weren’t as good as I would have liked,” said Matthews, who wore his Giant Pursuit helmet. “I carried on training this week after the Tour and stayed focused in preparation for today. I am still pleased to be able to finish third after a tough three weeks at the Tour.”
In other Team Sunweb news, 2017 Giro d'Italia champion Tom Dumoulin finished a strong fourth at the Clasica San Sebastian on his TCR Advanced SL. The Dutchman made the final selection in the hilly 231km Spanish summer classic. Dumoulin and his teammate Warren Barguil, who captured the polka-dot King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France, bridged up to three leaders on the final climb at the end of an hard-fought battle.
"Today was a good race for the team," said Dumoulin, who wore his Giant Rev helmet. "Everything went according to plan. The team protected me and Warren until the last climb and covered all the attacks beforehand. We were in a good position before the climb and from there it was full gas to the top. I didn’t know the descent so well so made a few mistakes that meant I had to chase even harder to get to the front, but I eventually managed to make it across. In the final I didn’t have the legs so couldn’t go for the sprint. It was a good race for the whole team, tactically we did everything perfectly so we can be satisfied with the day.”
Team Sunweb riders were also active over the weekend at the Tour of Poland. Max Walscheid finished third on Stage 2, earning his first WorldTour podium on his Propel Advanced SL aero road bike. And Wilco Kelderman moved up to fourth in the general classification with a strong ride on Stage 3. The weeklong WorldTour stage race through Poland has four stages left and will finish August 4.