With the win, Matthews took over the leader’s jersey in the weeklong stage race that kicked off with a circuit race in Sant Feliu de Guixols. The Australian’s first victory in more than a year followed an impressive ride at the Milan-San Remo classic two days prior in which he just missed the podium, proving the 31-year-old is in top form on his new TCR Advanced SL Disc team bike with a CADEX WheelSystem.
The opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya, which often serves as a stepping-stone to riders focusing on the season’s first grand tour, the Giro d’Italia, challenged riders with short, punchy climbs and an uphill finish. Crosswinds and rain made it all the more difficult, but Matthews was motivated and his team helped deliver him to the win. He knew the finish well, having won a stage here in the 2019 Volta.
“It’s been a long time without a victory for me now, so to come back to a finish I knew well and win again, it means so much,” said Matthews, who wore his Giant Pursuit helmet. “This course suits me quite well, a hard race and then an uphill sprint to the finish.”
The race continues through the rest of the week before finishing in Barcelona on Sunday.
“We have a really great team here,” Matthews said. “We have me for these types of finishes, we have Kaden Groves for the flat sprints, and we also have Simon Yates for the GC and mountain stages. So we have all the stages covered, and we’ve started it off on the best note so far.”