• Former points winner Michael Matthews ends 106th Tour de France fifth on green jersey standings behind record-setting points champion Peter Sagan. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Mechanical costs former points winner Michael Matthews on final stage of 'unlucky' Tour de France for both the Australian and Team Sunweb.
By
SBS Cycling Central

29 Jul 2019 - 7:45 AM 

Since winning the green jersey in 2017, Canberran Michael Matthews has not had 'Lady Luck' over residing over his shoulder. After withdrawing before Stage 5 last year due to illness, Michael Matthews was hoping a return to form would lead to a second points classification title, thus denying rival Peter Sagan his record-setting seventh he claimed today in Paris.

However, a mechanical inside the final 10 kilometres on the Champs-Élysées only added to both Matthews and his Team Sunweb's misfortune at the Tour. After a quick bike swap, Matthews managed to return to the bunch and finish 28th on the final stage won by former Orica-GreenEdge team-mate and fellow Aussie Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal).

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“I tried to save the legs as much as possible over the past few days,” explained Matthews, who finished fifth on points, 115 behind Sagan. “We were really motivated for today and I felt good, but unfortunately the luck was not on our side.

"When I saw that I had a bad mechanical I was still hoping to get back for the finale. I had a fast bike change from the team and I really appreciate that. I had Nico [Roche] waiting in the cars to bring me back to the bunch, before Lennard [Kämna] and Chad [Haga] were there to bring me as close to the front of the bunch as possible.

"By that point I was pretty sure it was over but we fought all the way to the line; you never know what happens."

Despite recording six WorldTour victories in the past two years, including two stage wins at Vuelta a Catalunya in March, neither Matthews nor Sunweb has been able to take the top step at Le Tour since winning two stage wins in 2017.

The closest the 28-year-old got to a win was a runner-up result on Stage 3 in Épernay. Matthews only cracked the top five once more with a fourth on Stagee 8.

But according to the eight-time Grand Tour stage winner with victories at the Tour (3), Giro d'Italia (2) and Vuelta a España (3), good fortune is hopefully a race or two away.

"The team morale is still super high at the moment," said Matthews. "We kept fighting and kept trying, and hopefully we can keep that spirit going and break the bad luck train we’re on at the moment.”