Jayco-Skins Michael Matthews has enjoyed a strong start to his season, something he hopes will continue when he resumes competition at Le Tour de Langkawi next week. Matthews believes his early season racing, plus an Australian Institute of Sport training camp leading into the Malaysian race, will hold him in good stead for the 2.HC event.
“I should be going pretty well by Langkawi because I’ve had a few big tours now leading up to it, so I should be pretty much going by then,” Matthews told Cyclingnews.
Matthews started the year on a high, finishing on the podium in both the Under 23 time trial and road race at the Australian Open Road Championships. The results were a pleasant surprise for the Canberra rider, who wasn’t sure of his form heading into the Ballarat race.
“The year has started off really well,” he said. “I wasn’t too confident going into the nationals as I hadn’t done much training since Oceanias where I won the time trial and road race. I thought I had worlds [qualification] planned out from there so I just got a little base going after that.
“I’d had a pretty long year and hadn’t had any rest all year, so after Oceanias I thought I’d have a week or two off and I’ve just been bringing my form back up slowly since then,” he said.
Matthews will return to Australia after Langkawi, where he will remain until March 22 when he heads to the AIS base in Italy.
While he’s had early season form, which led to a Tour of Wellington stage win, it’s later in the season Matthews has his eyes set on. He’s targeting Ronde de l'Isard, Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt U23 and Tour de l'Avenir with the hope his form will last through to the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championships in Melbourne, Australia at the season’s end.
“There’s a couple of tours overseas that I want to do well in this year that I didn’t get to do last year,” said Matthews. “I want to do well to get my name out there. I really want to win the Under 23 worlds; that’s definitely my main goal for the year.
“There are a couple of tours in Italy that are really good to peak me for the worlds, just make me a lot stronger,” he added. “They’re a really good guide at that stage and should have me really going for worlds.”