Holding the Maglia Rosa after the Giro d’Italia’s third stage to Dublin, Michael Matthews has said that his achievements this year are due to a rethink on the way he approaches the sport and a recognition that he was not making the most of his ability.
The Orica GreenEdge rider admitted that after a strong first pro season in 2011, that his 2012 and 2013 results were below what they should have been.
“I did start really well after winning the worlds in Melbourne in 2010, taking my first stage in a ProTour race as a pro. I think I won two or three races straight after that when I came to Europe,” he said during the post-race press conference, viewable above.
“I think I lost my way a little bit. It took me a little while to get going again. I really needed to focus on the smaller things that I was forgetting a little bit about, doing everything correctly.”
Matthew then clarified what he meant, saying essentially that it was impossible for a rider to reach his or her potential if they are not fully committed to that goal.
“The level of cycling at the moment is so high that you can’t do any small thing wrong, otherwise you are not going to be anywhere at the finish,” he said.
“I think it is just focussing on the right things and switching off all the other things. I guess that is all you can really do, sleep and eat right and do everything down to the wire because in the end, the level of pro cycling is that everyone is pretty much at the same level.
“If you do that little bit more, it gets you that extra one, two percent extra. That can be the difference between winning and losing. I am doing all those things 100 percent now and it is paying of for me. So I am really happy with it.”
Matthews’ tenure in the pink jersey has ticked off one goal he had prior to the race; the second is to notch up at least one stage win. He said that that doing so would entail getting the better of Marcel Kittel on terrain that doesn’t suit him.
“On a flat sprint, he is pretty incredible,” he admitted. “But I think once it start to get a little bit hilly, hopefully it will take some of his top end power away and other sprinters like me can have a go.
“I guess he has shown that he is the fastest man in the world. For the guys like me who can climb, it is going to be pretty hard to beat him on a flat stage.”
In the video Matthews also spoke about his fall during the stage, his impressions of wearing the pink jersey and what he describes as a ‘surreal’ atmosphere with the Orica GreenEdge team.