Matthews sprints to success on stage four of Tour de Suisse

Tue 16 Jun 2015

2015 Giro d’Italia stage winner Michael Matthews has capitalised on a strong final 40km by ORICA-GreenEDGE to sprint to victory on stage four of the Tour de Suisse.

The Australian outfit, including local Suisse rider Michael Albasini, hit the front for much of the final 40km, before Matthews launched from the wheel of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff – Sagan) to take the win.

“It was always going to be difficult,” Matthews said. “The way (Sagan) sprinted yesterday was really strong.”

“I knew I just had to glue myself to his wheel and then see what I had left to come over him.”

Matthews benefited from the strong work of the entire ORICA-GreenEDGE team, but particularly thanked Albasini for sacrificing himself in his home area for the team victory.

“My teammate Michael Albasini, who lives near this area, said he’d love to go for this stage because it’s near his home but that it’s probably a better sprint for me,” Matthews said.

“It’s incredible for a guy of that experience and that I have so much respect for, to help me in a final like this. It’s really special.”

Sport director Neil Stephens said Albasini had identified the stage as a good target for Matthews before the Tour started and the team were prepared to put it all on the road for the result.

They made a conscious effort to rid as many riders as they could to eliminate threats.

 “Today was a really big objective,” Stephens said. “It was a stage we knew we wanted to go well in and it was a stage we were not afraid to put ourselves on the line to go for the victory.”

“First up, we wanted to work hard to eliminate the pure sprinters like Alexander Kristoff and Mark Cavendish.

“Then, ideally we hoped to have Albasini and Daryl Impey to lead Michael out. That wasn’t the case because they had to commit to chasing a late break down. But he surfed on the back of other riders and stuck himself to the wheel of Sagan in the final, which was a good wheel to follow.”

Five riders – Thomas DeGendt (Lotto Soudal), Alex Howes (Cannondale Garmin), Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), Davide Malacarne (Astana Pro Team) and Fredrik Bakaert (Wanty - Groupe Gobert) – formed the breakaway for the day.

They were never allowed a lot of freedom, their advantage never extending much beyond three-minutes.

A three-circuit final, including the category three Kirchberg climb, was enough to shred the pure sprinters and leave today’s stage to be contested by the punchy fast men.

Despite a series of late attempts to break off the front, the tireless work of ORICA-GreenEDGE, who were joined by FDJ, BMC Racing and Tinkoff Saxo, ensured it came back together for the uphill reduced bunch kick.

Tomorrow’s fifth stage will be one for the general classification players with a 237.3km stage concluding at the summit of a ‘HC’ categorised climb.