Strong Start for Matthews, Team Sunweb at Tour!
Australian Michael Matthews sprinted to a strong second-place finish at Stage 3 of the Tour de France on Monday, moving into third-place overall and capping an impressive opening few days for Team Sunweb.
Matthews narrowly missed winning Monday’s tough 212km stage that brought riders into France after several days racing through Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. After a strong effort by his teammates to help put him in position, the 26-year-old powered up the final climb on his TCR Advanced SL team bike to finish second, just behind stage winner and world champion Peter Sagan.
“Today we were in control with Laurens [ten Dam] at the front for most of the day,” said Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek. “Things came back together at the right time and the team were there with Warren [Barguil] and Simon [Geschke] on the approach to the last climb. Unfortunately, Michael lost them both and in the end that lost energy makes the difference. Overall, it’s been a good day. We were where we needed to be on the right moments and the sprint was really close. Michael is for sure getting closer and closer to a victory and if we do everything right we have a really good chance.”
With his second-place finish, Matthews moved into third place in the general classification. He has looked strong throughout the first few days, racing on three different Giant bikes. He rode the Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike to 16th place in the opening time trial in Dusseldorf. German Nikias Arndt was the team's top finisher in the 14km TT, finishing 11th. Both riders wore the Giant Rivet TT helmet for the time trial.
On Stage 2, a fast and flat 203km race from Düsseldorf to Liège, Matthews chose to ride a pre-production, next-generation Propel aero bike with disc brakes. The rainy stage was marred by a large crash with 30km to go, but Team Sunweb riders managed to avoid any troubles. The final sprint was hectic, but Matthews finished inside the top-10 on his aero machine.
“I’m really happy with the bike today,” Matthews said after his first Tour stage on the new Propel. “In the rain with the disc brakes, it was perfect. And with all the aerodynamics on it, it was superfast too. When you need to accelerate, it really gives you that kick that you need.”
Stage 4 travels from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel, and is likely to be another day for the sprinters. The 207km stage is mostly flat, with just one categorized climb that comes with about 40km to go.
Monday, July 3, 2017