Michael Matthews has extended his contract with Sunweb after a successful three seasons with the outfit.
Australian Matthews joined the German team in 2017, after switching from home squad Orica-Greenedge, taking stage victory in the Tour de France and winning the coveted points jersey since the switch.
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The 28-year-old signed a new three-year deal until 2021 on the eve of the Tour de France, where he is the squad’s best hope for stage victory after general classification favourite Tom Dumoulin has been forced to skip the race due to a persisting knee injury.
Matthews said: “I’m very happy to be with Sunweb for another two years. I have had an incredible two and a half years in the team, with many great memories.
“I think it’s a good environment for me to keep developing and I cannot wait to gather more memories with our big family at Sunweb.”
Matthews has found himself in an awkward spot for the 2019 Tour de France, as he had been preparing himself to support general classification favourite Tom Dumoulin who has been forced to pull out due to injury.
As a versatile sprinter, Matthews now finds himself as the team’s best hope of stage success in France but says his preparation has not been designed around fighting for his own glory.
Sunweb coach Luke Roberts said: “We are pleased to extend the contract with Michael. It was a really successful journey in the past two and a half seasons with some highlights.
“Michael’s work ethic goes very well with the philosophy of the team. He is always very motivated to give everything for the common goals of the team. I am sure that we can celebrate some more successes.”
Matthews, the winner of stages in all three Grand Tours, has been consistent in the toughest races this season, with top-10s in the Tour of Flanders, Brabantse Pijl and Flèche Wallonne, as well as two stage victories in the Volta a Catalunya.
His re-signing comes amid rumours of discontent inside Sunweb, as Dutchman Dumoulin is thought to be unhappy with management after the injury he suffered at the Giro d’Italia.
After pulling out of the Giro on stage five, Dumoulin pushed himself to prepare for the Tour but later announced who would not be racing in France due to the injury.
Rumours suggested Dumoulin had been approached by Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma, but he later said a transfer was “out of the question.”