Team Sunweb rider Michael Matthews sprinted to victory in the final stage of the BinckBank Tour, a weeklong UCI ProTour stage race through The Netherlands and Belgium that concluded Sunday in Geraardsbergen.
The BinckBank Tour (formerly the Eneco Tour) attracts many of the sport’s top classics riders with its hilly routes and cobblestone sections covering some of the same territory as spring classics including Amstel Gold Race, Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The 216k Stage 7 challenged riders with a series of steep climbs in the final 40 kilometers, including a finishing ascent up the decisive Muur van Geraardsbergen. Team Sunweb started the day in strong position, with Matthews sitting second and Søren Kragh Anderson fourth in general classification.
Riding his TCR Advanced SL team bike and wearing the Giant Pursuit helmet, Matthews, with the help of his teammates, marked a flurry of attacks. The Aussie then launched the winning move just before the final turn up the climb.
In addition to the stage win, Matthews came close to taking the general classification, finishing second overall just 5 seconds behind Matej Mohoric—who was put under pressure but managed to hang on for the overall win.
“This win is incredible,” Matthews said. “We came here with a GC goal and it was a real big team effort to secure second. Today was a big goal for me personally, we wanted to finish off the race on a high note. Søren [Kragh Andersen] did a great job in the final and sacrificed his chances so we could take the win. We tried everything to crack the leader but he played it really smart so we have to be happy with second.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef praised the strong all-around effort from the team to get the result. “Søren tried to break Mohoric by attacking in the final so that Michael cold save energy, and he nearly succeeded on the final run up the Muur,” he said. “In the end Michael outsprinted everybody to take the stage win and finish second in the GC. The team have worked really well together this week and we can be proud of how we raced.”