Michael Matthews will appear on France de Tour after being absent for a year. He is aware of the competition he will have, and that there are many names in the race for the yellow jersey “The GC guys obviously don't want to lose time, so they'll also be fighting for it.
It’s not just the punchy sprinters that will be up there," said Matthews in a pre-Tour media conference, as quoted by cyclingnews "Definitely the yellow jersey is on the line for some different riders than it normally is with a sprint or a TT at the start of the Tour de France.
I'm looking forward to giving it my best and seeing what we can achieve as a team in these first few days”. The introductory race will consist of two stages “It is difficult to decide which one suits better,” Matthews said.
“I'll give it 100 percent on both of them and we'll see what we come out with, hopefully it’s a victory. But we just don’t know”.
Van der Poel and Alaphilippe
His two main competitors will be Alaphilippe and Van der Poel.
Will he have a chance against them? “I hope so. I've been working towards being good at these sorts of stages,” said Matthews. “I think I just need to try my best and not focus on what they're doing but just focus on what I'm doing and try to get the best out of myself and use my team to try and support me as best they can going into that final of these first two stages”.
“Van der Poel's proved that he's in really good shape, in Suisse he was probably the most dominant rider there, so I think It's fair to say he's probably the man to beat,” said Matthews. “Also Alaphilippe showed he is in great shape too, so they're probably the two favourites for the first two stages.
I’m sure they’ll show us what legs they have and they’ll make a good show. I'll do my best to try and be in front of them”. If he achieves a good result at the beginning, he will have a significant advantage “These first two stages are 50 points for the jersey so that creates a big gap to the pure sprinters if you're up there,” said Matthews.
“I think it'll be a nice fight, quite open to a lot of riders this year but for me personally it’s just focussing on stages and see towards the end what happens”.