Matthews puts in strong ride on stage nine of Giro d'ItaliaSun 17 May 2015
Stage three winner Michael Matthews has put in a strong ride on another punishing day for stage nine of the Giro d’Italia this afternoon.
Matthews finished in 16th place within a small surviving peloton, one-minute 43seconds behind solo winner Paolo Tiralongo (Astana Pro Team), with the remnants of the day’s breakaway and major general classification contenders in between.
Sport director Matt White said the ride showed good signs of the 24-year-old’s condition.
“The way they raced this stage was like every other day this week,” White said of yet another aggressive day on the road.
“At the end of nine days of racing and more than 4000m of climbing, for Michael to be there in the mix with some of the best climbers in the world is a really strong sign.”
The conclusion of the ninth stage brings a timely first rest day of the Giro d’Italia, White pleased with the team’s achievements so far.
“We came here with some targets early on in the Tour and we certainly ticked those boxes, but we still have more targets to go,” White said.
“It’s only the end of the first phase of the race but before the we start the next, we have a very well deserved rest day for all.”
How it unfolded
With the first rest day approaching tomorrow, there was no easing of pressure on the ninth straight day of racing.
Once again the peloton split very early in racing, although it managed to regroup shortly after.
The attacks continued before eventually eleven riders were permitted to ride away. 60km into the 215km stage, their advantage was almost two minutes.
After two of the three classified climbs, Tom Jelte Slagter (Cannondale – Garmin) went solo from the break and hovered with around a minute and a half advantage from his former companions.
Further behind, Tinkoff-Saxo controlled the peloton to sit five minutes behind Slagter as they approached the 50km to go mark.
As he entered into the final ten kilometre Slagter was joined and then later dropped by Tiralongo who went on for a comfortable solo win.
Once again, the general classification contenders flexed their muscles to distance themselves from the peloton. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) was the biggest winner, sprinting to a one-second gap from rivals Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Richie Porte (Team Sky).