Michael Matthews took advantage of the World Championships coming to his home country in Geelong, Australia by winning the Under 23 title today. He sprinted ahead of the group that included Brit Luke Rowe in 11th.
“There was a lot of pressure, but it worked on my side so everyone felt like they had to beat me instead of me beat them,” said Matthews who comes from the Australian capital territory.
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“It’s just a dream come true, and dreams don’t usually come true. It’s unbelievable.”
The dream ended with him a few bike lengths ahead of his rivals. Germany’s John Degenkolb took the silver medal and American Taylor Phinney and Canadian Guilaume Boivin both won bronze as the judges were unable to see a difference despite the help of the replay.
“I marked Matthews, Degenkolb and Phinney – I knew they were the three to watch,” said Great Britain’s Rowe.
“I was in the top 10 from that final corner, but you can see from the video I did not have the legs in the final. You can’t really be happy with 11th in a bunch kick. I am not disappointed, but I am not happy.
“Mark Cavendish? I think he can get to the finish and I think he can be world champion.”
The road race was split on the very same hill that pundits say will stop Cavendish from winning the elite title on Sunday. USA’s Ben King rode clear on the first climb to The Ridge and kept going for seven of the 10 15.9-kilometre circuits.
Brit Alex Dowsett and Italian Moreno Moser caught King on the climb, but the race regrouped shortly afterwards. Frenchman Tony Gallopin showed strongest with several attacks, one that put him ahead solo on the last lap.
However, a group of nearly 30 caught Gallopin along Geelong’s waterfront and left three kilometres only to race. Three kilometres for Matthews to position himself for Australia’s first under-23 win and its first gold medal on the road since Cadel Evans won the elite title last year in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
“I’m speechless,” said 20-year-old Matthews. “I don’t know what to say.”
His legs did the talking. German Degenkolb surged ahead on the uphill stretch to the line, but Matthews retaliated with a missile-like launch.
World Championships 2010: Under-23 men’s road race, 159km
1. Michael Matthews (Australia) in 4-01-23
2. John Degenkolb (Germany)
3= Taylor Phinney (USA)
3= Guillaume Boivin (Canada)
5. Arnaud Demare (France)
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Italy)
7. Laurens De Vreese (Belgium)
8. Sebastian Lander (Denmark)
9. Juan Jose Lobato (Spain)
10. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Russia) all same time
11. Luke Rowe (Great Britain)
Britain’s Alex Dowsett
Michael Matthews takes Australia’s first home win in the 2010 Worlds
Under-23 men’s road race podium (l-r): John Degenkolb (second); Michael Matthews (winner); Guillaume Boivin and Taylor Phinney (tied for third)
The photo finish that put both Phinney and Boivin on the podium (courtesy of Tissot Timing)
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World Championships 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
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