Montecassino, 15 May 2014: the brilliant young Australian Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge), from Canberra, extended his overall lead with a brilliant win atop the long climb up to the Abbey at Montecassino, the first true uphill finish of the 97th Giro d’Italia. Second was the Belgian Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol), and third, Mattthews’ compatriot Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
Matthews, already the leader of the General and Best Young Rider classifications, adds to his winnings the lead in the Mountains competition. Cadel Evans now lies second in the general classification, 21 seconds behind the Maglia Rosa.
Maglia Rosa – Balocco: Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge)
Maglia Rossa – Algida: Elia Viviani (Cannondale)
Maglia Bianca – F.lli Orsero: Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge)
Maglia Azzurra – Banca Mediolanum: Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge)
After the stage, Michael Matthews spoke with the press:
The final climb: “It was all for the win today. Fair play. It was me against him [Cadel Evans] for the jersey and the stage, and I was lucky enough to have really good legs in the final after my team put me in the perfect condition at the bottom of the climb. On this sort of terrain, it’s definitely my best win, and totally a dream come true. Winning a hilltop finish over Cadel Evans while wearing the Maglia Rosa in the Giro d’Italia: it doesn’t get much better than that.”
The fall before the climb: “Everyone wanted to be in the front because of the wet conditions. The road narrowed before the roundabout, we were riding at 60 kph, and everyone wanted to be in the front. If you’re lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, you’re OK. That’s racing these days. It’s all about positioning.”
More than a sprinter: “I was always a good climber, but I didn’t have the confidence that I needed to go into these climbing stages and be good. These last two stages I”ve proved to myself that I can do it, and from now on I’ll be aiming, not for the high mountain stages, but for the stages that finish with a short climb. I now know I can win on that terrain and in the flat sprints too.”
Tomorrow’s stage: “We’ll try again for the win tomorrow. We have a really strong team for the lead-outs, as we showed in the opening team time trial. We’re not going to back down now: we have 2 stage wins now. We’ll push all the way and see how far we can get.”