After being one of the many riders caught up in a crash with 45km to go, 'Bling' recovered with the help of his teammates to get back to the front of the group, finishing eight seconds behind stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in an action packed first stage.
Matthews now sits 12 seconds behind Alaphilippe in the GC standings and 2 ahead of third placed Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) heading into Stage 2, another hilly journey highlighted by an ascent of the famous Côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne.
While it was a great result for the 30-year-old, he acknowledged coming so close to the maillot jaune was a tough pill to swallow.
“The goal was to win today, but there was just one guy stronger than me," Matthews said.
"I guess I have sort of mixed feelings, obviously you want to win, but it’s also nice to start the Tour de France already with a podium position. I think it sets the tone for us as a team going forward for these three weeks.
"He (Alaphilippe) always does this (attacking early) and it’s the best way for him to win the race, so his attack wasn’t unexpected that’s for sure."
Speaking on the crash he was involved in, Matthews put it down to the nerves amongst the peloton in what was a highly anticipated first stage, as he was optimistic about tomorrow's race.
"It was a tense day, and I went down in the first crash," he said.
"It was a stupid sort of crash, one of those ones where it was starting to get nervous in the peloton and getting fast towards the finish and someone touches the wheel and I think 80 guys went down.
"Tomorrow I think the final climb is actually harder, but better for me. We can only take confidence from today’s performance.”
The Tour de France continues with Stage 2 a 183.5 kilometre stage from Perros-Guirec to the steep finish atop Mur-de-Bretagne. Watch the action on SBS from 2030 AEST, with live racing starting from 2100.