Matthews most combative on sentimental day for ORICA-GreenEDGE at Tour de FranceWed 8 Jul 2015
For the second consecutive day, Michael Matthews has pushed through pain barriers to complete stage five of the Tour de France despite a rib injury caused in the nasty crash on stage three.
His resilience was rewarded with the most combative rider award for the stage, but it was nothing on that shown by the ANZACs who ORICA-GreenEDGE rode in memory of today.
Today’s route followed one similar to the Western Front in World War I. In honour of the 295,000 who fought and 46,000 who sacrificed in the area, ORICA-GreenEDGE wore a black armband with the Australian Centenary logo.
“Today was definitely a special day for our team,” sport director Matt White said. “It’s an honour for us to be able to make a tribute to those who sacrificed for our future.”
“It was also a special feeling to pass by so many Aussie flags in the course, knowing how important this area is in our history and for everyone to really get behind it.
“For Michael Matthews to be recognised was a nice cap off.”
Constantly changing wind and wet conditions made for another stressful day in the bunch and resulted in a number of crashes.
Amongst those taken down were ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Svein Tuft and on two occasions, Michael Albasini. Both were able to return to their bikes and complete the stage, however Albasini will not start tomorrow.
“It was another hectic day in the office,” White said. “We were involved in multiple crashes although I don’t think there was a team that wasn’t involved in a crash today.
“Michael Albasini hurt himself in his second crash and after a review from our medical team and scans, will not start tomorrow due to a fracture in his upper left arm.”
At the end of the stressful day, those who avoided major incidence and survived the splits in the crosswinds contested for a reduced bunch sprint.
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) was victorious for the second time this Tour.
Tomorrow’s stage six has the making of yet another stressful day as it follows the line of the ocean for the most part of the 191km journey from Abbeville to Le Havre.
The parcours offers three small category four climbs but they are not expected to break up proceedings. Of more significance in the short rise to the finish line that many are predicting will rule out the pure sprinters.
Precautionary scans this evening have revealed two small fractures of Michael Matthews' ribcage. After evaluation, ORICA-GreenEDGE medical staff have given clearance that it is perfectly safe to continue racing and Matthews has vowed to keep fighting. The 24-year-old will continue to be monitored.