GreenEdge confirms that it’s interested in Michael Matthews
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

GreenEdge confirms that it’s interested in Michael Matthews

by VeloNation Press at 7:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
Australian sitting third overall at halfway point of Santos Tour Down Under

Michael MatthewsSecond on Wednesday’s stage of the race and currently sitting third overall and within reach of the leader’s ochre jersey, Michael Matthews (Rabobank) is providing further signs of his ability and potential in the Santos Tour Down Under.

He won the under 23 world road race championship in 2010 and the GreenEdge team has confirmed that it sees him as a rider that it would like to secure for the future.

"We are interested in several talented Australians,” the new Australian ProTeam squad has confirmed to De Telegraaf. “And yes, we know that Michael's contract expires [at the end of this season – ed.]. We're not in discussions, but we would like him in the team. He’s a huge talent, though we do not know exactly what he can or can not do,” directeur sportif Matt White said.

Matthews starts Friday’s fourth stage in third place overall, twelve seconds behind double stage winner Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and four off the second place of Martin Kohler (BMC Racing Team). He could overhaul the latter with a strong performance on stage four and, if he climbs to his potential, could also get past Greipel on Saturday’s summit finish on Old Willunga Hill.

The German has already said that he believes he will drop out of contention then. He won the race in 2008 and 2010 but on both of those occasions, the Willunga stage had a downhill run to the line, giving him time to recover.

Matthews has a buffer over the other riders fighting for the ochre jersey. He’s two seconds ahead of Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil), four ahead of Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling), and eight up on other such as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

His Rabobank team is hoping that he can make the most of his talent on Saturday. Longer term, it has confirmed that it too is keen to have him as part of the squad. “Of course there many other teams interested for the coming years…that is why we are also in conversation to keep him longer,” said team manager Erik Breukink.

Still just 21 years of age, Matthew’s first pro season in 2011saw him clock up a stage win and fourth overall in the Santos Tour Down Under, first on stages of both the Vuelta a Murcia and the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, plus a fine victory in the Rund um Koln. He was also third in the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt.

For such a young rider, the results were very encouraging and show that he was able to adapt to life as a WorldTour pro.

He should make further progression this year and, according to Breukink, could end up riding a Grand Tour. If so, the Dutchman stated that he would make his debut in the Vuelta a España.


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