Michael Matthews: We will do everything we can to keep the jersey as long as possible
Michael Matthews has made clear that the Orica GreenEdge team will do its utmost to continue holding onto the Maglia Rosa, with the Australian sprinter making clear that the team won’t give it up anytime soon.
He took over in the pink jersey today, succeeding his team-mate Svein Tuft by virtue of his better placing on the stage.
“I had high hopes coming into it but you never really know,” he said, speaking about the goal of taking the Maglia Rosa. “Things can go terribly wrong and you don’t get the jersey.
“Now that we have really done well in the team time trial yesterday and got a big gap over the teams behind us, we should be able to keep it for maybe a week, which was the goal from the start. We will definitely do everything to protect it for as long as we can.”
Matthews spoke to the media after the stage, with the press conference viewable above. While other teams made their selections with some general classification considerations, he said that the Orica GreenEdge team line-up was deliberately chosen with yesterday’s race against the clock in mind.
“The plan was to win the team time trial with the team we brought here. We brought out strongest team for this discipline,” he confirmed. “The plan was to give Svein the jersey for this birthday yesterday and for all the hard work he does for us. Then for me today to try to run a place in the sprint and take the jersey and see how long we can keep it for.”
Matthews has been a professional for the past two seasons and has already made a big impression on the sport. He clocked up two stages in last year’s Vuelta a España and also led an important classification there. He said that today’s ownership of the Maglia Rosa was a proud moment for him, and ticked off another goal he had in the sport.
“I got the under 23 worlds jersey which was pretty amazing in Australia, in front of my home crowd,” he said. “Probably the next biggest jersey after that would be maybe the green jersey in the Vuelta last year. I got to wear that for a few days which was pretty special after winning my first Grand Tour stage.
“Now this…there is not much further we can go from here.”
In the video above, Matthews speaks about these topics and also gives his opinion on stage two winner Marcel Kittel, the German’s dominance in the sprints and what tactic he will employ to try to grab a stage win in the next week.