Matthews thrilled with first professional win
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Matthews thrilled with first professional win

by Shane Stokes at 5:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Early success bodes well for first season with Rabobank

Michael MatthewsStill just 20 years of age and just three days into his first pro season, Michael Matthews had the best possible encouragement Monday when he scooped victory on stage two of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic and took over the race lead.

Like all neo-professionals, moving up to the paid ranks is a nerve-wracking time, even if the rider concerned has flourished in the amateur ranks. In fact, that can sometimes make it harder for two reasons; the weight of expectation, and also the need to adjust from winning regularly to digging deep just to compete.

Matthew’s win is therefore something very big for him. “It’s my first professional victory, and [it comes] so early in the season,” he said.

"I knew this was the only chance of success…winning a huge sprint is not for me. [To do it] with a friend was ideal.”

Matthews is not suggesting that his breakaway companion Simon Gerrans helped him in any way, other than the fact that the two of them traded pulls for over half the race to ensure they stayed clear. Rather, Gerrans did less work in the closing laps, saving his own energy for the sprint while hoping that his Team Sky team-mate Greg Henderson could get across.

Matthews did the bulk of the driving and had more than enough energy to power clear at the end, topping the podium. His effort was praised by Gerrans, who saw firsthand the power he put out. “Well deserved,” he said, “what he showed was really impressive.”

Matthews has already proved his ability with strong amateur performances. His wins last season include stages in the Tours of Japan and Langkawi [pictured] plus in the Ringerike GP, but best of all was his triumph in the under 23 world road race championships in Geelong.

He’s returning to that location tomorrow (Tuesday) to line out in the third stage of the four-day Jayco Bay Cycling Classic. That plus the overall lead he took on stage two means that he will be hugely motivated to ride strongly again.

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