Matthews wins sprint for silver at world championships

Sun 27 Sep 2015

Multiple Grand Tour stage winner Michael Matthews has won the reduced bunch sprint to claim the silver medal at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.

Matthews finished just three seconds behind four-time Tour de France green jersey champion Peter Sagan (Slovakia) who escaped on the penultimate climb inside the final three kilometres to win solo.

The 25-year-old’s podium finish resembled that of last year’s championship which saw Simon Gerrans, who claimed sixth today, sprint to second behind the late escape of Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland).

Immediately after the race Matthews, who had shown his return to form after suffering broken ribs at the Tour de France by winning a stage at the Tour of Alberta, was disappointed to miss out on the gold. 

“Unfortunately it’s not the gold," Matthews said. "I came here to win the race and I had the legs and had the form to win but Sagan slid away there and we weren’t able to catch him."

“I was about fifth or sixth wheel when he went. I thought that some other guys would close it but obviously they didn’t. Then I thought that we’d catch him with three kilometres to go and it being such a hard race but maybe we underestimated him a little bit. I’m really happy for him actually.”

How it happened:

As the peloton set off for the 2015 UCI Road Cycling World Championship they had 261.4km (18.1km plus 15 laps of 16.2km) and well over six hours of racing ahead of them.

The day featured a number of breakaways, the first a group of eight riders who rode out to the biggest gap of the day, just five minutes.

Then, after a stint with three riders out front, a dangerous group of seven established with three laps to go, including the likes of defending champion Kwiatkowski and Classics specialist Tom Boonen (Belgium),

The group rode to a 30second advantage before the peloton caught them, thanks largely to the efforts of Australia and Germany, at the base of the base of the Libby Hill – the first of three consecutive climbs - on the penultimate lap.

A flurry of short attacks characterised the final lap, but it was the move of Sagan on the penultimate climb of the race that proved too strong as a largely reduced peloton struggled to shut it down from behind.

By the finish line, Sagan claimed the victory by three seconds to Matthews, who won the bunch sprint for second ahead of Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania).