• Mat Hayman (R) will again captain Michael Matthews (L) at the UCI Road World Championships. (Getty)Source: Getty
NEW high-performance director Simon Jones has borrowed from the British playbook declaring Australia will have no Plan B behind uncontested leader Michael Matthews at the upcoming UCI Road World Championships.
By
Sophie Smith

Source:
Cycling Central
5 Sep 2017 - 5:25 PM  UPDATED 12 Sep 2017 - 7:28 AM

Jones believes having a Plan B invites disharmony, which damaged the men’s road team two years ago at the Richmond world titles where Matthews insinuated the difference between his silver and Peter Sagan’s gold was compatriot Simon Gerrans riding himself into sixth.

Matthews and Garfoot to lead Australia at UCI Road World Championships
2017 Tour de France green jersey winner and 2015 road race silver medallist Michael Matthews will spearhead the Australian Cycling Team at the 2017 UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway.

“That’s why there is disharmony, I believe you’ve got to go all-in. You put your cards down and they’re the ones you have to reflect on afterwards. If you go with uncertainty, the riders don’t know what their role is,” Jones says. “It’s just logical, otherwise you leave it to hope.”

Free agent Gerrans is a notable absence from the nine-man squad, which includes proven road captains in Mathew Hayman, Rory Sutherland and Simon Clarke as well as Luke Durbridge, Mitch Docker, Jay McCarthy, Jack Haig and Heinrich Haussler, who has been benched through injury for most of the year.

Jones had played with the idea of not sending a maximum nine-man squad to Bergen, Norway prior to selection announcements made on Tuesday. He stated he wasn’t convinced man power necessarily equated to victory, as Sagan’s modest Slovak squad has proved, but ultimately opted for the full qualified quota.

“As a general theme, we’re going to be taking a more targeted approach to national teams because Australia is one of the nations that seem to be taking the biggest teams to track world championships and so on, and actually not converting into medals - particularly at the Olympics Games. We’re not going to make the same mistakes again,” he says.

Matthews has proven his mettle this season, with an extraordinary run of victories at new trade team Sunweb, including two stages and the green jersey at the Tour de France, which he has come well off.

“Michael has demonstrated winning capability, and even if there is a little bit of uncertainty about how hard the course is we are going to go for him,” Jones says.

The 2017 UCI Road World Championships will be held in Bergen, Norway from 17-24 September and will be broadcast on SBS Viceland and streamed online.

Englishman Jones had a six-year stint at the Western Australian Institute of Sport and previously worked for British Cycling as well as Team Sky before his appointment as Cycling Australia high-performance director in April. His past ties with the overtly successful Team GB and Sky is evident in dialogue and imprints the 47-year-old has already made.

“You look at who can win and what they need. For the winners, we ask them what support do you need to win this bike race? It’s really important that we involve the athletes in that, and they have been involved,” Jones says.

“You don’t start with nine and say how am I going to win. You start with how are you going to win and work back from there.”

Jones says Cycling Australia administration changes under his tenure have been “unsettling”, but doesn’t believe alterations in direction will negatively impact on performances in Norway.