Q&A With Sport Director Matt Wilson on Amgen Tour of California Stage 4

Thu 16 May 2013

Michael Matthews sprinted to sixth place in Santa Barbara on the fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California. Tyler Farrar (Garmin Sharp) proved quickest in the hectic finale to take the win ahead of Ken Hanson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step). Matthews reported getting 'stuck in the barriers' 300 metres from the finish. Despite getting swamped in the finale, he was able to deliver a fourth top ten placing for ORICA-GreenEDGE in California.

The peloton was greeted with far milder temperatures in Santa Clarita than the conditions they have been forced to deal with during the previous three stages. An attacking start gave way to a six rider move controlled by Jamis–Hagens Berman for race leader Janier Acevedo. When teams with an interest in the sprint came to fore, ORICA-GreenEDGE sent Wesley Sulzberger to the front to share the work. Inside the final ten kilometres, the lone survivor of the break was swept up by the peloton as they readied themselves for the sprint.

Sport Director Matt Wilson answers questions about the day below.

Q: Anything remarkable in the early action today? Anyone watching the broadcast missed out on the first two hours of the stage.

No, nothing to report early on. It was a fairly straightforward stage with the early break, a committed chase and the sprint finish.

Q: Why did the team commit to the chase today when we haven’t on other stages?

After Michael Matthews finished second yesterday, we knew there would be more pressure on us to chase, and with six guys in the break, it was necessary for more than one team to commit to help. We sent Wes to the front.

Q: The last 20 kilometres seemed pretty hectic. What did the riders have to say about the build-up to the sprint?

Yes, it was a very hectic sprint today. The guys found it difficult to stay together, and we definitely missed Fumy Beppu and Michael Hepburn, who we lost after the first stage. It was very difficult to organise a good lead out with only four riders. We had used up Wes in the chase, and Cam Meyer wasn’t able to commit 100% due to GC.

Q: How did things go for the team in the sprint?

We had the same plan today as yesterday. It was just harder to replicate this time. I haven’t had a chance to review the sprint closely yet, but the boys are saying Matthews got swamped at the end. He finished sixth. We expect another sprint tomorrow, and we’ll have another crack at it then.

Q: Several people on Twitter said they saw Fumy and Heppy riding the stage ahead of the race – were they doing a recon ride?

They’re here training now for the week, and it made sense to have them train on the race course today. Fumy was able to relay details to me about the course, which came in handy during the race. He will do the same tomorrow.