Matthews notches up ORICA-GreenEDGEâ€™s seventh Tour de France top-ten in ParisMon 27 Jul 2015
Paris-Nice sprint classification winner Michael Matthews has sprinted to ninth place on the Champs Elysees for the final stage of the 2015 Tour de France.
The performance – ORICA-GreenEDGE’s seventh top-ten – wrapped up a tough Grand Tour for the team who suffered significant injuries in the first week.
Vowing to fight on the Australian outfit wanted to go out with a bang, trying to force the final stage break and then setting up Matthews for the final sprint.
“The guys tried to get in the breakaway,” sport director Matt White said. “That didn’t work so we put everything in for Michael.”
“They did all they could with the limited resources we had and a top-ten is a nice way for him to finish off considering where he has been in this Tour.”
How it unfolded:
The peloton rolled out of Sevres – Grand Paris Seine Ouest in its traditionally celebratory fashion.
Whilst Chris Froome and Team Sky celebrated another race won with champagne, ORICA-GreenEDGE rolled through with the minor victory in keeping its six remaining soldiers after a brutal first week.
A wet circuit saw judges make the decision to take the final time on the first passage through the start finish line to lock in the general classification results.
The race for the stage then began in earnest on the famous Champs Elysees in Paris as crowds gathered, despite the weather, for their last chance to witness the world’s biggest race for another year.
ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Luke Durbridge was one of the first riders to attempt to break free but his push was shut down by Lotto Soudal who rode all day determined to force a bunch sprint.
Shortly after three riders broke off the front and rode to almost 30seconds advantage. Canadian Svein Tuft tried, unsuccessfully, to bridge across.
Eventually, the determined Lotto Soudal won the battle and brought it back together, their sprinter Andre Greipel taking out his fourth stage victory for the Tour.
The 2015 wrap – ORICA-GreenEDGE:
As has been seen in the team’s Tour de France appearances to date, ORICA-GreenEDGE set off for their fourth start of the world’s toughest cycling race with high hopes of stage success.
The Australian outfit, for the first time, boasted opportunists for all three weeks of the Grand Tour – largely thanks to the inclusion of British climbers Adam and Simon Yates.
On track for the first two days, stage three took a turn for the worst for many teams, but none more than ORICA-GreenEDGE. A brutal and large-scale high-speed pile up saw much of the peloton hit the ground.
Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey were victims of injuries that left them out of the race, whilst another crash to Michael Albasini saw him withdraw only 48hours later.
The remaining six riders, despite numerous injuries and health setbacks, fought on bravely.
By the close of the 2015 Tour de France, ORICA-GreenEDGE finished with seven top-ten stage results, including five to the Yates brothers.
It was not the stage win on the target list, but regardless, sport director Matt White said there were plenty of positives to take out of the Tour.
“It was certainly not what we planned,” White said. “If you take three key guys out of any roster that early in the Tour, it’s nothing short of a disaster so for the guys to soldier on and keep trying and giving everything they could, it’s been pleasing.”
“There was one stage there in the Tour that I could we were going to have Simon Yates, Michael Matthews and Svein Tuft all going home.
“But for the guys have pushed through, especially the younger guys, it’s something they can look back on in the future. Things don’t always go right in your sporting career and to get through the difficult times, especially at the highest level of race in the world, is a powerful lesson.
“To come out the other side like they have, we have seen some great rides by Simon Yates over the past couple of days and Michael to finish off with a top-ten, that is a positive sign.
“And everyone who finished here is going to get a big benefit out of the work they have done in July, and we can certainly capitalise on that in August and September.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE – Top 10 results
Stage 3 – Simon Yates – 8th
Stage 8 – Adam Yates – 7th
Stage 10 – Adam Yates – 7th
Stage 14 – Simon Yates – 10th
Stage 15 – Michael Matthews – 8th
Stage 17 – Adam Yates – 10th
Stage 21 – Michael Matthews – 9th