Matthews brings the bling to the TDU

Rabobank's Michael Matthews (Image: Stuart Randall)

Racing at the Santos Tour Down Under returned to a more predictable pattern with U23 World Champion Michael Matthews winning the days sprint in the town of Stirling.

After a day of carnage at the Santos Tour Down Under racing returned to a more predictable pattern with U23 World Champion Michael Matthews winning the days sprint in the town of Stirling.

The stage came down to another mass finish with Matthews (Rabobank) jumping ahead of Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) to take the win.

Despite suffering a puncture 10 km from the finish line, Goss regained the Ochre leaders jersey he lost to RadioShack's Robbie McEwen following a crash strewn second stage.

"I only just got back at the bottom of the climb with about 4km to go so it was a very hard way to get the jersey back but I'm very happy to be in it now," said Goss.

Matthews, who is in his first year with the Dutch Rabobank outfit, showed more of the same sprint prowess that won him the under-23 title at the world road race championships in October.

It is the 20-year-old's second win of the season, following his victory in stage two of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic.

"I was a bit worried about Gossy because he's really fast right now, this win is bigger that the world championships, said Matthews.

The feature break of the day was made by Aleksandr Kuschynski (Katusha), Luis Pasamontes (Movistar), Luke Durbridge (UniSA) and Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil) with the foursome spending most of the day out in front.

The leading quartet were stalked by another three riders, BMC's Tim Roe who was once again on the attack, along with teammate Martin Kohler and Angel Madrazo (Movistar).

Meanwhile the peloton trailed by just enough to keep the escapees honest. The gap to the peloton sitting around 2 minutes with less than 40 kilometres left to go.

With less than 30 left to go the gap had been lowered to 1 minute and 30 seconds, the RadioShack team doing the work out front for their race leader Robbie McEwen.

With 20 kilometres to go the chasing peloton had done its work with all the breaks absorbed and a mass finish again on the cards at the end of the 129 kilometre stage from Unley to Stirling.

A series of attacks from 3 kilometres out saw Ben Hermans (RadioShack) and Aitor Arrieta (Lampre) and Richie Porte attempt to break the sprinting monopoly but the peloton refused to let them get away.

At the finish it was the powerful Matthews who emerged as the winner ahead of his more experienced challengers.

"I was like 50th wheel with 4km to go and then Tom (Leezer) put me in perfect position for the sprint," said Matthews.

"It's one of the most difficult races (stages) in this tour so it's really great to win this one and thanks to my team."

Friday's fourth stage is a 124 km ride over undulating terrain from Norwood to Strathalbyn.

Stage 2: 129km, Unley - Sterling.

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank 3:11:47, 2 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto, 3 Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad, 4 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky, 5 Luke Roberts (Aus) UNI SA, 6 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar, 7 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, 8 Allan Davis (Aus) Astana, 9 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, 10 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale.

General classification:

1 Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad 9:56:25, 2 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:02, 3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack 0:00:04, 4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank, 5 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky, 6 Allan Davis (Aus) Astana 0:00:14, 7 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar, 8 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD, 9 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC, 10 Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky.

Stage 3 TV times for SBS ONE and TWO.

Daily highlights

6:00pm SBS ONE

8:30pm SBS TWO (RPT)

10:00pm SBS ONE

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