• Michael Matthews soaks up the emotions of a hard-earned victory (AAP) (KEYSTONE)Source: KEYSTONE
Fresh off his recent stage win at the Giro d’Italia, Orica-GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews sprinted to victory in Stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse.
Cycling Central

17 Jun 2015 - 7:52 AM  UPDATED 17 Jun 2015 - 11:06 AM

Orica-GreenEDGE hit the front for much of the last 40km of the 193.2km stage from Flims to Schwarzenbach, before Matthews launched from the wheel of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) to take the win.

“It was always going to be difficult,” said Matthews. “The way (Sagan) sprinted yesterday was really strong.

“I knew I just had to glue myself to his wheel and then see what I had left to come over him.”

Matthews benefited from the full commitment of the entire Orica-GreenEDGE team, but particularly thanked Swiss team-mate Michael Albasini for sacrificing himself in his home area for the team victory.

“My team-mate Michael Albasini, who lives near this area, said he’d love to go for this stage because it’s near his home but that it’s probably a better sprint for me.

It’s incredible for a guy of that experience and that I have so much respect for, to help me in a final like this. It’s really special.” - Michael Matthews

Orica-GreenEDGE sport director, Neil Stephens, said Albasini had identified the stage as a good target for Matthews before the Tour started and the team were prepared to put it all on the road for the result.

They made a conscious effort to rid as many riders as they could to eliminate threats.

“Today was a really big objective,” Stephens said. “It was a stage we knew we wanted to go well in and it was a stage (where) we were not afraid to put ourselves on the line to go for the victory.”

“First up, we wanted to work hard to eliminate the pure sprinters like Alexander Kristoff and Mark Cavendish.

“Then, ideally, we hoped to have Albasini and Daryl Impey to lead Michael out. That wasn’t the case because they had to commit to chasing a late break down. But he surfed on the back of other riders and stuck himself to the wheel of Sagan in the final, which was a good wheel to follow.”

Five riders, Thomas DeGendt (Lotto Soudal), Alex Howes (Cannondale Garmin), Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), Davide Malacarne (Astana) and Fredrik Bakaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), formed the breakaway for the day.

They were never allowed a lot of freedom, their advantage never extending much beyond three-minutes.

A three-circuit final, including the category three Kirchberg climb, was enough to shred the pure sprinters.

Despite a series of late attempts to break off the front, the tireless work of Orica-GreenEDGE, who were joined by FDJ, BMC Racing and Tinkoff-Saxo, ensured the race came back together for the uphill reduced bunch kick at the end.

Peter Sagan finished second in the stage, which moved him up to second place in the general classification. He now shares the same time as race leader, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Daniel Moreno (Katusha) slipped down one position to third, eight seconds back.

Tomorrow’s fifth stage will be one for the general classification players with a 237.3km route concluding at the summit of a ‘HC’ categorised climb.

 Stage 4: 193.2km, Flims - Schwarzenbach
1 Michael Matthews (AuUS) Orica-GreenEDGE 4hr 36min 0sec
2 Peter Sagan (SVK) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:00
3 Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) BMC Racing       
4 John Degenkolb (GER) Team Giant-Alpecin         
5 Jasper Stuyven (BEL) Trek Factory Racing         
6 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (SPA) Katusha         
7 Silvan Dillier (SWI) BMC Racing         
8 Thibaut Pinot (FRA) FDJ.fr         
9 Matteo Trentin (ITA) Etixx-QuickStep         
10 Robert Gesink (NED) LottoNL-Jumbo    

General classification
1 Tom Dumoulin (NED) Giant-Alpecin 11hr 19min 9sec   
2 Peter Sagan (SVK) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:00     
3 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (SPA) Team Katusha 0:00:08    
4 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Team Sky 0:00:09    
5 Thibaut Pinot (FRA) FDJ.fr 0:00:15    
6 Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana Pro Team 0:00:17    
7 Steve Morabito (SWI) FDJ.fr 0:00:18    
8 Kristijan Durasek (CRO) Lampre-Merida 0:00:21    
9 Bob Jungels (LUX) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:22    
10 Simon Spilak (SLO) Team Katusha