• Michael Matthews celebrates his first Tour de France victory (AAP)Source: AAP
One of Australia's premier riders, Michael Matthews, has been granted a release from his contract at the end of the season with Team Sunweb, and has immediately announced that he'll be rejoining Australian squad Mitchelton-Scott.
By
SBS Cycling Central

31 Aug 2020 - 8:33 AM 

Matthews was under contract with Team Sunweb until the end of 2021, but sought a release from his deal and he was quickly announced as moving to Australian WorldTour team Mitchelton-Scott. 

The new contract will see Matthews ride with the squad until the end of the 2022 season.

"I saw a moment where it just felt right,' said Matthews. "As a sprinter and as a rider you feel moments like this and sometimes you just have to go with instinct.

“The opportunity was there to come back and you have to take them when they are there. At this moment in my career it just felt right, and the team has welcomed me back with open arms which is really special."

Matthews started his career with Mitchelton-Scott, but moved squads when he thought the team was moving to more of a Grand Tour winning focus. Now, back with the team, the Canberran said that he was comfortable fitting into a team with general classification ambitions.

“I’m definitely happy to be coming back, I have some amazing memories from GreenEDGE," said Matthews. "Gerry Ryan supported me through my under-19, under-23 days and also in helping me turn professional, so it just feels like coming home.

“I want to get my own results, but also to be a part of the team that has GC goals as well. We will have Simon Yates that can win the biggest Grand Tour’s in the world and I would love to be part of that and there’s some young guys coming through, to help them progress too.

“I wouldn’t put it down to one particular race or result to make the next two years successful, but I want to progress as a rider and as a teammate, and enjoy races.”

Matthews wins big in Bretagne
Michael Matthews romped to victory at the Bretagne Classic, capping off a tactically astute performance by Team Sunweb throughout the 247km race.
Matthews third in Milan-Sanremo after 'put into the wall' on the Poggio
Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) was nursing a thoroughly swathed hand after the finish of Milan-Sanremo, where he finished third after easily winning the bunch sprint behind the late attacking duo of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Julian Alahilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
Matthews to miss 2020 Tour for Giro
Michael Matthews will miss the Tour de France this season after Sunweb announced the Australian would target the Giro d'Italia instead.

Matthews and Sunweb detailed the reason for his release being that the Australian sprinter and classics specialist disagreed with the team's tactical approach to races that suited Matthews' characteristics.

Team Sunweb's press release talked of "a more varied method, which takes advantage of the team’s increased collective strength – doesn’t precisely fit his athletic profile nor his preference of being the team’s targeted fast finisher. The team’s evolution of tactics for classics and sprints made Matthews request to look for new opportunities after 2020 elsewhere. The team decided to cooperate on the move." 

It seems clear that Matthews is looking for a solo leadership role, one not necessarily guaranteed to him at Sunweb. 

“The team (Sunweb) is very ambitious and increasingly want to work with a broader collective of riders deeper in the finales of classics and sprint races," said Matthews. "Those tactics do not ideally fit with my ambitions and specific strengths to sprint for the wins. For that reason, I decided to ask permission to investigate opportunities to look for a different team and I appreciate that Team Sunweb was open for this.

“I always have been very happy with the team’s professional environment and the wealth of knowledge that they have. I hope that I can find a similar environment in my next team. Through the years we have achieved amazing things together which I am very proud of, these memories will stay in my mind forever and I am very thankful to the team for that.”

During his time with Sunweb, Matthews won the 2017 Tour de France green jersey, two editions of the GP Quebec, one GP Montreal and a total of 12 WorldTour level races.