VUELTA: Michael Matthews Sprints to Maiden Grand Tour Victory

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Aussie Michael Matthews outsprinted Maximiliano Richeze and Gianni Meersman to claim his maiden grand tour stage victory in his grand tour debut.

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The 22-year-old from Orica-GreenEdge won stage five of the Vuelta a España in magnificent fashion, finishing off the chase work and pace-setting done by his teammates during the last two hours of the 168.4km stage. “I crossed the finish line, and I was happy right away,” said Matthews. “After a few moments, it sunk in what I had really done. A few tears came out after that”.

“This is the biggest win of my career. The team was super impressive today. They did their job perfectly so I could do mine.”

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The early breakaway put up a fierce fight and after Garmin had set the tempo, it was left mainly to Orica-GreenEdge to chase them down with help from Quickstep and Garmin. Race leader Nibali explained afterwards he was quite happy for them to stay away so his team had an easy day sitting in the wheels whilst Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Jurgen Van de Walle (Lotto Belisol), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ.fr) and winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) slipped the stranglehold of the field 8km from the start.

The quintet built up a healthy buffer of 10’25 before ORICA-GreenEDGE joined forces with Garmin-Sharp to signal the start of the chase. “We began the day knowing we were a very important person down,” said Stephens. “We lost Wesley Sulzberger to a broken collarbone yesterday, and without him, everyone had to do a bit more work. Because of this, we started going for the early attacks in an attempt to lighten that load.”

Matthews: “We used Gerro, Cookie, Clarkey and Bewley in the chase,” said Matthews. “Leigh [Howard] and Mitch [Docker] saved themselves for the lead-out. The rest of the team was on the front going full gas to bring back the break and keep me safe.”

Orica-GreenEdge’s Christian Meier assumed responsibility for the early chase. Sixty kilometres from the finish, the Canadian began to trade pulls at the front with his former Garmin-Sharp team to reduce the leader’s advantage. “We had Christian on the front from the start of the chase,” explained Matthews. “Together with two Garmin guys, he rode the ten minute gap back to four minutes. He was really impressive today.”

Although Meier’s work had more than halved the gap between the five leaders and the peloton, the team called in reinforcements in the final 30km. Simon Clarke, Baden Cooke, Simon Gerrans and Sam Bewley dutifully made their way to the front of the bunch to close down the break.

“We used Gerro, Cookie, Clarkey and Bewley in the chase,” said Matthews. “Leigh [Howard] and Mitch [Docker] saved themselves for the lead-out. The rest of the team was on the front going full gas to bring back the break and keep me safe.”

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“These are guys that I’ve grown up looking up to during my whole career,” Matthews added. “To see them riding on the front for me puts a tear in the eye.” The break showed no signs of slowing over the category three Alto do Covelo, and their collaboration continued on the descent. They entered the final 20km with a 2’16 advantage over their chasers.

“The beauty about being the guy for the sprint is that I didn’t have to worry about the chase,” Matthews explained. “My job was to follow the wheels in front of me and keep my mind clear and focused on my job at the end of the stage. The team’s job was to bring back the break. I trusted them to do their job, and they trusted me to do mine.”

“I didn’t have to pay any attention to the gaps or the chase work,” Matthews continued. “I focused on every possible scenario I could image for the sprint. Here’s what I would do if I had a lead-out. Here’s what I would do if I didn’t have a lead-out. That sort of thing.”

Inside the final 10km, the break fractured. Just shy of the 3km mark, Courteille and Van de Walle, the last two riders standing from the early move had rejoined the bunch. Argos-Shimano and Omega Pharma-Quick-Step readied their sprint trains as Matthews was forced to make due without a full lead-out due to the chase work done by his team. He patiently bided his team as the trains jostled for position and remained calm when Philippe Gilbert (BMC) accelerated away from the field inside the final kilometre.

“I had a hint that Gilbert was going to make that move,” noted Matthews. “I was expecting it. I think he thought the final would be more uphill, but it was a flat sprint. It wasn’t hard enough for a move like that. He came back pretty quickly because of the lead-outs going from Quick-Step and Argos. I had a clear line in the end to open my sprint and show my sprinting legs to the world.”

Matthews hit the front around the 200 metre mark, and once on the front, he handily held off his challengers. “When I was on the podium, I noticed there were a fair few Aussies in the crowd,” said Matthews. “Winning a Grand Tour stage is great; climbing onto the podium on the other side of the world to celebrate that win and having people from home there to cheer you on is really something special.”

“It’s super awesome for the team to have a win already on stage five,” Matthews added. “We have a lot of potential on a lot of the coming stages. I think this is just the beginning for us.”

For Quickstep, it was another close call for their man, Meersman.
“It was another hard finish today,” Meersman said. “Once again the team perfectly put me in the best position for the sprint. We took our responsibility also to catch the breakaway. In the last five kilometers Martin, Pieter Serry and Zdenek Stybar piloted me, then at 600 meters to go I was on the wheel of Matthews.”

“I waited for the right moment to go and when I decided to launch my sprint Matthews also went and I couldn’t really pass him. The timing for the sprint was perfect, but he was just stronger than me today. Yesterday I finished in 4th place, today I was 3rd. I really would like to get a stage here for me and the team. We will see day by day and try to do our best.”

RESULT

1 MATTHEWS Michael Orica GreenEDGE 04:28:22
2 RICHEZE Ariel Maximiliano Lampre – Merida @ st
3 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
4 ARNDT Nikias Team Argos – Shimano @ st
5 FARRAR Tyler Garmin – Sharp @ st
6 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Sky Procycling @ st
7 ROUX Anthony Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
8 HENDERSON Gregory Lotto Belisol Team @ st
9 RATTO Daniele Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
10 BOLE Grega Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
11 MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
12 MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
13 NOCENTINI Rinaldo AG2R La Mondiale @ st
14 SCHORN Daniel Team NetApp – Endura @ st
15 SCARPONI Michele Lampre – Merida @ st
16 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
17 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team @ st
18 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
19 LODEWYCK Klaas BMC Racing Team @ st
20 SANTAROMITA Ivan BMC Racing Team @ st
21 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team @ st
22 HORNER Chris RadioShack – Leopard @ st
23 MARTINEZ DE ESTEBAN Egoi Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
24 BARGUIL Warren Team Argos – Shimano @ st
25 BASSO Ivan Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
26 CATALDO Dario Sky Procycling @ st
27 CARDOSO André Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
28 SINKELDAM Ramon Team Argos – Shimano @ st
29 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team @ st
30 KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
31 HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis Sky Procycling @ st
32 TANNER David Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
33 NIEVE ITURALDE Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
34 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale @ st
35 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team @ st
36 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling @ st
37 HOWES Alex Garmin – Sharp @ st
38 SIJMENS Nico Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
39 MORENO FERNáNDEZ Daniel Katusha Team @ st
40 KONIG Leopold Team NetApp – Endura @ st
41 PIMENTA COSTA MENDES José João Team NetApp – Endura @ st
42 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack – Leopard @ st
43 ZAUGG Oliver Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
44 VANENDERT Jelle Lotto Belisol Team @ st
45 PINOT Thibaut Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
46 FLECHA Juan Antonio Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
47 ELISSONDE Kenny Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
48 MATE MARDONES Luis Angel Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
49 MONTAGUTI Matteo AG2R La Mondiale @ st
50 SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
51 ZUBELDIA AGIRRE Haimar RadioShack – Leopard @ st
52 ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
53 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team @ st
54 VICIOSO ARCOS Ángel Katusha Team @ st
55 ARROYO DURAN David Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
56 JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt Team Argos – Shimano @ st
57 GUSEV Vladimir Katusha Team @ st
58 CAPECCHI Eros Movistar Team @ st
59 NERZ Dominik BMC Racing Team @ st
60 BRAJKOVIč Janez Astana Pro Team @ st
61 KANGERT Tanel Astana Pro Team @ st
62 SARMIENTO TUNARROSA Jose Cayetano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
63 BAGOT Yohan Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
64 TEN DAM Laurens Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
65 PATERSKI Maciej Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
66 SORENSEN Chris Anker Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
67 PINEAU Cédric Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
68 PAOLINI Luca Katusha Team @ st
69 HERRADA LOPEZ Jose Movistar Team @ st
70 ZANDIO ECHAIDE Xabier Sky Procycling @ st
71 DE CLERCQ Bart Lotto Belisol Team @ st
72 MORI Manuele Lampre – Merida @ st
73 COPPEL Jérome Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
74 GUTIERREZ PALACIOS Jose Iván Movistar Team @ st
75 ZINGLE Romain Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
76 MORENO BAZAN Javier Movistar Team @ st
77 MARCZYNSKI Tomasz Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
78 POPOVYCH Yaroslav RadioShack – Leopard @ st
79 MARTIN Daniel Garmin – Sharp @ st
80 DE GREEF Francis Lotto Belisol Team @ st
81 LONGHO BORGHINI Paolo Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
82 TXURRUKA Amets Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
83 DE LA CRUZ MELGAREJO David Team NetApp – Endura @ st
84 RAST Gregory RadioShack – Leopard @ st
85 LOSADA ALGUACIL Alberto Katusha Team @ st
86 HUZARSKI Bartosz Team NetApp – Endura @ st
87 SERRY Pieter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
88 CLEMENT Stef Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
89 EIJSSEN Yannick BMC Racing Team @ st
90 ULISSI Diego Lampre – Merida @ st
91 KOHLER Martin BMC Racing Team @ st
92 SZMYD Sylwester Movistar Team @ st
93 WYSS Danilo BMC Racing Team @ st
94 BUSCHE Matthew RadioShack – Leopard @ st
95 URTASUN PEREZ Pablo Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
96 BROWN Graeme Belkin Pro Cycling Team 00:17
97 DALL’ANTONIA Tiziano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 00:19
98 PREIDLER Georg Team Argos – Shimano 00:25
99 FROHLINGER Johannes Team Argos – Shimano @ st
100 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
101 MONDORY Lloyd AG2R La Mondiale 00:49
102 VELASCO MURILLO Ivan Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
103 PAUWELS Serge Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 01:16
104 PINOTTI Marco BMC Racing Team @ st
105 TOSATTO Matteo Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
106 DE GENDT Thomas Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
107 IRIZAR ARANBURU Markel RadioShack – Leopard @ st
108 ERVITI OLLO Imanol Movistar Team @ st
109 GARATE Juan Manuel Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
110 WURF Cameron Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
111 GASTAUER Ben AG2R La Mondiale @ st
112 BOIVIN Guillaume Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
113 OROZ UGALDE Juan Jos̩ Euskaltel РEuskadi @ st
114 CARUSO Giampaolo Katusha Team @ st
115 LANDA MEANA Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
116 VERDUGO MARCOTEGUI Gorka Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
117 BERARD Julien AG2R La Mondiale @ st
118 CHEREL Mikael AG2R La Mondiale @ st
119 HERMANS Ben RadioShack – Leopard @ st
120 VANDEWALLE Kristof Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
121 VAN DE WALLE Jurgen Lotto Belisol Team @ st
122 VANENDERT Dennis Lotto Belisol Team @ st
123 ISAYCHEV Vladimir Katusha Team @ st
124 TIRALONGO Paolo Astana Pro Team @ st
125 PUCCIO Salvatore Sky Procycling @ st
126 POULHIES Stéphane Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
127 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura @ st
128 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura @ st
129 HANSEN Adam Lotto Belisol Team @ st
130 STORTONI Simone Lampre – Merida @ st
131 IGLINSKIY Maxim Astana Pro Team @ st
132 MøRKøV Michael Team Saxo-Tinkoff 02:42
133 GRIVKO Andriy Astana Pro Team 03:00
134 HUPOND Thierry Team Argos – Shimano @ st
135 LASTRAS GARCIA Pablo Movistar Team @ st
136 DOCKER Mitchell Orica GreenEDGE @ st
137 MARTIN Tony Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 03:04
138 GRAZIATO Massimo Lampre – Merida 03:09
139 POELS Wout Vacansoleil – DCM 03:23
140 HOOGERLAND Johnny Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
141 REYNES MIMO Vicente Lotto Belisol Team @ st
142 WESTRA Lieuwe Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
143 GENIEZ Alexandre Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
144 WAGNER Robert Belkin Pro Cycling Team 03:25
145 ANACONA GOMEZ Winner Lampre – Merida 03:28
146 DODI Luca Lampre – Merida @ st
147 ARAMENDIA LORENTE Javier Francisco Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
148 VALLS FERRI Rafael Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
149 FERRARI Fabricio Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
150 DE WEERT Kevin Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
151 PIEDRA PEREZ Antonio Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
152 BARTA Jan Team NetApp – Endura @ st
153 CAMANO ORTUZAR Iker Team NetApp – Endura @ st
154 KNEES Christian Sky Procycling @ st
155 SøRENSEN Nicki Team Saxo-Tinkoff 03:35
156 ROWE Luke Sky Procycling @ st
157 HAEDO Lucas Sebastian Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
158 AZANZA SOTO Jorge Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
159 INTXAUSTI Benat Movistar Team @ st
160 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ st
161 BEWLEY Sam Orica GreenEDGE @ st
162 BESSY Cyril Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
163 KOZONTCHUK Dmitry Katusha Team @ st
164 HOWARD Leigh Orica GreenEDGE @ st
165 EDET Nicolas Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
166 COURTEILLE Arnaud Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
167 VEIKKANEN Jussi Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
168 PETROV Evgeni Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
169 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
170 VANOTTI Alessandro Astana Pro Team @ st
171 VAN DER SANDE Tosh Lotto Belisol Team @ st
172 KIRYIENKA Vasil Sky Procycling @ st
173 PETERSON Tom Team Argos – Shimano @ st
174 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
175 CANCELLARA Fabian RadioShack – Leopard 04:35
176 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale @ st
177 CHAINEL Steve AG2R La Mondiale @ st
178 MANGEL Laurent Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
179 LANDER Sebastian BMC Racing Team @ st
180 ZEITS Andrey Astana Pro Team @ st
181 NUYENS Nick Garmin – Sharp 06:15
182 VANSUMMEREN Johan Garmin – Sharp @ st
183 MEIER Christian Orica GreenEDGE @ st
184 COOKE Baden Orica GreenEDGE @ st
185 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ st
186 GARCIA FERNANDEZ Marcos Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
187 BONO Matteo Lampre – Merida @ st
188 PETIT Adrien Cofidis Solutions Crédits 07:45
189 KREDER Michel Garmin – Sharp 15:02
190 LASCA Francesco Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
191 FAIRLY Caleb Garmin – Sharp @ st
192 STAMSNIJDER Tom Team Argos – Shimano @ st
193 SOUPE Geoffrey Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr @ st
194 RASMUSSEN Alex Garmin – Sharp @ st
195 MARKUS Barry Vacansoleil – DCM @ st

OVERALL

1 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 18:43:52
2 HORNER Chris RadioShack – Leopard 00:03
3 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff 00:08
4 ZUBELDIA AGIRRE Haimar RadioShack – Leopard 00:16
5 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team 00:21
6 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack – Leopard 00:26
7 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling 00:28
8 MORENO FERNáNDEZ Daniel Katusha Team 00:31
9 MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff 00:38
10 KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff 00:42
11 HUZARSKI Bartosz Team NetApp – Endura 00:45
12 SANTAROMITA Ivan BMC Racing Team 00:46
13 KONIG Leopold Team NetApp – Endura 00:48
14 MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin Pro Cycling Team 00:49
15 CAPECCHI Eros Movistar Team 00:52
16 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 00:53
17 SORENSEN Chris Anker Team Saxo-Tinkoff 00:55
18 EIJSSEN Yannick BMC Racing Team 00:59
19 ULISSI Diego Lampre – Merida 01:10
20 TEN DAM Laurens Belkin Pro Cycling Team 01:12

 

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