Michael Matthews’ disappointment and hunger will help drive him to win the Amstel Gold Race in Holland on Sunday, says Orica-GreenEDGE captain Mathew Hayman.
Hayman is also expecting Matthews to “step up to the occasion” when he makes his Tour de France debut in July and do what he has done in every other major tour – win stages.
Matthews spoke of his disappointment to only finish third in last month’s Milan-San Remo, one of the five “monuments” that are considered the biggest races outside of the three grand tours: the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.
Hayman felt that was a good sign and showed he was only happy with winning.
Originally the Amstel was meant to be Simon Gerrans’ main target, having finished third three times, but a series of injuries has set back the world championships silver medallist this year.
Hayman said it opened the way for Matthews, who has started the year in fine form.
The man known as “Bling” won the green jersey and a stage in the Paris-Nice, won a stage at the Tour of the Basque Country and finished second in the Brabantse Pijl – along with his third in San Remo.
”He was on the podium in a monument, one of the biggest races in the world,” Hayman said. “It’s good that he is disappointed and he’s still hungry and the only thing he wants to do is win, which is great.”
“You know that he’s not just happy to take third place. That being said, he rode an awesome race there and he’s obviously continued with that form.
“The way he looked like he was travelling in the Basque country, I think he’s going to be a top favourite for Amstel. I expect big things from him … I see Bling winning at the moment.”
Hayman expected more big things from Matthews when he makes his long-awaited Tour de France debut.
The 24-year-old was meant to race it last year but had a training crash just days before it started and was forced to withdraw.
“Last year he was gutted about missing out there and not being able to start,” Hayman said.
“So far he’s won stages in every grand tour that he’s started – the Tour de France is a new level and it is a different race but they are just the same bike riders that he’s been racing against.
“Maybe even having that year, knowing he had great form and crashing out … probably makes him even more hungry for success when he finally does arrive on the biggest stage.
“Knowing Bling, he’ll just step up to the occasion as he has done in the past.”
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