Aussie Focus

Matthews leads improving Team BikeExchange classics squad into Flanders

Australian squad Team BikeExchange hasn't had a lot of success in the men's Tour of Flanders, a race that has seen the traditional classics squads come to the fore to consistently sweep the top placings, while BikeExchange's top result remains Sebastian Langeveld's tenth back in 2013.

83rd Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields 2021 - Men's Elite

Team BikeExchange dominates the front group at Gent-Wevelgem. Source: Getty

SBS will broadcast the men's Tour of Flanders from start to finish with the early stages of the cobbled monument starting from 1755 AEST on SBS On Demand and the TV broadcast on SBS VICELAND joining the SBS VICELAND coverage from 2030. The women's Tour of Flanders race coverage will start at the conclusion of the men's, with an expected start time of 0015 AEST on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.

Team BikeExchange head into the Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen) on Sunday with Michael Matthews leading the hunt for the team’s only missing Monument. 

Matthews has been in good form, placing sixth at Milan-San Remo and fifth at Gent-Wevelgem, but has yet to take a win in the 2021 season.

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“I am feeling better and better after every race, I have had a couple of easy days now after Gent-Wevelgem, so hopefully I can build back up again now towards Flanders," said Matthews. "I did a nice recon on Thursday with the guys, so I am really looking forward to Sunday.

"I think every race that we do together we are going to get better and better. We started on Friday in E3 where we all showed we are in good shape, then Sunday we came out and I think we impressed a lot of people with what we did at Gent-Wevelgem."



"Then on Wednesday at Dwars door Vlaanderen, the guys did an awesome job for Durbo to put him up there in the final and have a good crack. I think Durbo is also in good shape to hopefully be with us there in the final at Flanders."

The Tour of Flanders is renowned as one of the most chaotic races of the season, with mechanicals, crashes and getting caught up behind others' problems often big factors in a successful race.

"It all comes back to getting through phase one, then phase two and three," said Matthews. "So you need a good team around you to get through all those phases and hopefully we can have some good luck go our way on Sunday and everything can come together.”



The squad is armed with options with Luke Durbridge showing his form at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday and Slovenian Luka Mezgec a threat in reduced bunch sprint scenarios. Paris-Roubaix winner Mat Hayman will be in the director's role for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and extolled the virtues of the squad.

“We are in a good spot, these races are always really tricky, and we come into Flanders with a very strong seven-man squad," said Hayman. "Each of the riders have shown something in one of the Classics so far and it will be about getting behind Michael Matthews and delivering on Sunday.

"Jack Bauer was exceptionally strong in Gent-Wevelgem, Durbo showed on Wednesday that he’s going really well, and Michael has been there and thereabouts in every race he’s done this year."

The support group has shown itself to be in good form, with the majority of the squad key in forcing the split in the peloton during the early-mid stages of Gent-Wevelgem and driving the front group to a winning position. The experienced Jack Bauer lines-up for his ninth ‘Ronde’ alongside Amund Grøndahl Jansen, Rob Stannard and former U23 Flanders winner Alex Edmondson.

Team BikeExchange at the Ronde van Vlaanderen:

Jack Bauer (NZL)
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (NOR)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Rob Stannard (AUS)

SBS will broadcast the men's Tour of Flanders from start to finish with the early stages of the cobbled monument starting from 1755 AEST on SBS On Demand and the TV broadcast on SBS VICELAND joining the SBS VICELAND coverage from 2030. The women's Tour of Flanders race coverage will start at the conclusion of the men's, with an expected start time of 0015 AEST on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.


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4 min read
Published 3 April 2021 at 7:46am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS