The Lanterne Rouge can be a status symbol to some riders – the last rider in the Tour de France general classification – but Orica-GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews is keen to rid himself of the title.
Matthews endured a torrid first week in the race, breaking ribs and suffering multiple abrasions in the huge crash on stage three which knocked out a number of big-name riders.
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The Australian, who wore the pink jersey at this year’s Giro d’Italia, is keen to point out that he was one of the few riders to get up from that crash and carry on and is confident of moving up the rankings as the stages progress.
“It’s been a really hard race with so much stress but the team was behind me keeping me motivated,” he told letour.fr. “I’m still hoping to get results in the later part of the Tour and that’s the main reason to stay in the race.
“I’m last because the day that I crashed I was the only one from that crash to finish the stage. I don’t like being last but I also keep it at the back of my mind that I was the only one to get through from that crash.
“In the next few days I’ll move up in the GC. A few stages are good for me coming up. The goal is to try and take stage wins. To finish the Tour is not an objective for now.”
Matthews sits 177th and last on the GC after stage 11, more than two hours behind behind race leader Chris Froome. Britain’s Alex Dowsett is just one place ahead of him, and could find himself at the foot of the table soon as he continues to struggle on.
Watch highlights from stage 11 of the Tour de France