When Michael Matthews won stage one of Volta a Catalunya, his celebration was a mixture of happiness and relief.
For the Australian, so often a threat in a multitude of races throughout the season, hadn't raised his hands in victory since August 2020; remarkably for a rider with 38 career wins including stages at all three Grand Tours, that win at the Bretagne Classic was his first in a year.
To illustrate the depth of Matthews' drought further, his win in Catalunya on Monday was just his second win in his last 114 race days.
That barren run of form had pained the BikeExchange-Jayco rider as he tried to understand just why he was no longer winning bike races.
"It's been difficult, and the more race days that went by that I wasn't winning, the harder it was to try and win," the 31-year-old candidly told Cycling Weekly.
"I never stopped believing in myself, but to a point I was thinking it was not going to happen."
It was only less than five years ago that Matthews won two stages and the green jersey at the Tour de France, and he admitted that in recent months he had turned to YouTube to rewatch some of his victories.
"I have done, yep. And I needed to do so a couple of times just to remember what that winning feeling was like, to keep the motivation going," he added.
"I never stopped fully believing, but I definitely had to watch a couple of my own finishes for sure.
"The one that stands out the most was the Tour finish into Rodez [in 2017] when Greg van Avermaet and I were dragging each other to the line.
"There's been a few of my wins that have probably been unexpected, hard races were probably the sprinters aren't as fresh as I am at the finish. It's normally ones where when you come across the finish line you're completely dead.
"The Canadian classics have been super hard to win, and a lot of Tour de France stages sprint to mind, the ones where there is a select finish."
Matthews is in his third spell with his current team having previously spent four years away with what is now Sunweb and two of his formative years at what is now Jumbo-Visma.
The Australian team are now a bona fide sprinting outfit with Dylan Groenewegen on board, and emerging Australian Kaden Groves going for stage success in Catalunya this week.
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