News: Matthews wins Bretagne Classic

After a podium at Milan San Remo, Aussie Michael Matthews (Sunweb) made the top step in Bretagne Classic with Britain’s Dan McLay in 8th

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News: Matthews wins Bretagne Classic

Sunweb Press Release

As was the case with the Women’s race earlier on in the day, this year’s edition of the Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France featured a brand new route. The challenging 247.8 kilometre parcours included a whole host of short punchy climbs spread across the course, three of which, the Côte du Lézot, Montée de Lann Payot and Côte du Pont-Neuf, featured on the finishing circuit.

Pic: Getty Images

Six riders decided to try their luck early on and formed the morning breakaway. Despite gaining a healthy advantage, the peloton, commanded by Team Sunweb in conjunction with some of the other favourites, were always in control of affairs. With just under 50 kilometres to go, the remnants of the early escape were reeled in. However, the early catch encouraged a flurry of attacks which eventually resulted in a group of three getting away before the peloton settled down once again.

The unrelenting nature of the parcours whittled the peloton down to around 50 riders, with Michael Matthews and Nils Eekhoff representing Team Sunweb going into the closing stages, after being positioned to perfection by the team. The leading trio held their ground before being brought back with 20 kilometres to go, leading to yet more attacks.

One by one the moves were neutralised. The most dangerous one coming in the last few kilometres, closed down superbly by Eekhoff with Matthews in his slipstream creating a split in the process. Eekhoff didn’t let anyone out of his sight, setting Matthews up perfectly to deliver a commanding sprint to the line, to take the team’s eighth victory of the season. Rounding off an incredible team effort, Eekhoff held on and took his first WorldTour top ten by finishing in seventh place.

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“This is an amazing day,” smiled a buoyant Matthews at the finish. “We’ve tried a lot of times to win this and today we came with a super strong team to try again. After Milano-Sanremo’s podium I was confident that I could finish it off if I got the opportunity today.”

“Felix did a great job during the race to make sure the breakaway didn’t get too far and the rest of us could relax in the peloton. In the final there was a big headwind so there was not too much excitement, but we just played it cool and put it all into the final. There were a lot of attacks throughout the race and we had all of them covered which was great, there was always someone there.”

“In the final Nils did a great job to start pulling and then he got a split with one other guy and I could sit on behind. Mezgec then closed the gap and I was able to do a really good sprint at the finish. It’s amazing to come here and win after so many tries and I just really want to thank the team for their amazing support today.”

Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott): “I am a bit disappointed with this second place to be honest. I was good at the front, on the top of climb with two kilometres to go, and everything split behind us. Two guys stayed away and one of those was a Sunweb guy so Matthews wasn’t doing any work. When I saw there was four of five of us guys together with 600metres to go, I had to make a move to catch the Sunweb guy. Once I was there with the split, I had to open the sprint with 350 metres plus and then I took second. It is what it is”.

“Anyway I am really happy with the feelings and with the legs, so it is all good and especially heading into the Tour de France later this week. As a team we worked fantastically together, we always covered and worked the majority of the day. We riders started moving we always had someone represented in the move, so it was really good from everyone.”

Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-Quick Step): “The team was great today, making sure I was in the front on these small and narrow roads. I preferred to wait for the last climb to attack and went full gas, but unfortunately the headwind spoiled my plans. Some riders could bridge across, so I knew it would come down to a small group sprint. I started in the last 200 meters and took a nice third place, although I am a bit disappointed, because the legs were strong and I felt that I could really fight for victory today”, Sénéchal explained at the finish.

Dan Mclay: “Had a good day on the bike today in Plouay. Played my card for the sprint but unfortunately for me there were 7 stronger guys who broke clear on the climb! Was well looked after by my teammates, just a shame I couldn’t do more. I have done some serious training since coming out of lockdown, notably participating in an altitude training camp at Isola 2000 at the start of the summer, with part of the climbing group. Today, in this 2020 edition of the Bretagne Classic, the team ran really well and did a great job. I am satisfied with my physical condition, the legs are good. Now I hope that victory will smile on us in the next competitions.”

1. Michael Matthews Team Sunweb 6:01:14
2. Luka Mezgec Mitchelton-Scott @ 01
3. Florian Sénéchal Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 01
4. Aimé De Gendt Circus-Wanty Gobert @ 01
5. Alessandro Fedeli Nippo Delko Provence @ 01
6. Quinn Simmons Trek-Segafredo @ 01
7. Nils Eekhoff Team Sunweb @ 03
8. Daniel McLay Team Arkea-Samsic @ 05
9. Anthony Roux Groupama-FDJ @ 05
10. Ivan Garcia Bahrain-McLaren @ 05

23. Scott Thwaites,
59. Jon Dibben,
87. Charlie Quartermann,
100. Gabz Cullaigh

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