Matthews sees numerous possibilities for stage wins in 2016 Giro d'Italia route

"Hard week" for Australian after Worlds silver medal

Michael Matthews has worn the maglia rosa and won stages at the last two editions of the Giro d'Italia but believes the 2016 edition of the race offers better possibilities for stage wins than the last two editions.

"I think with eight flat sprints and about six medium climbing days, there are a lot of stages that really do suit my characteristics. I think it will be more interesting for me next year rather than this year, so I am really looking forward to it," Matthews told Cyclingnews at the unveiling of the 2016 route in Milan.

The 25-year-old added that while the percorso is to his suiting, he isn't 100% nailed on to start the race next May.

"I won't say definitely, but it's definitely on the cards at the moment so we'll see."

Orica-GreenEdge have won the opening team time trial at the 2014 and 2015 Giro's placing Matthews in prime position to wear the race leader's pink jersey although the 2016 edition of the race will forgo the team event for an individual test against the clock in Apeldoorn. A decision that drew a mixed response from Matthews.

"We've always targeted the team time trial at the Giro and done well that last two years so it’s a bit of a bummer not having it in the race again next year but its always nice to have some change as well," said Matthews who won a stage in his first four grand tours. 

Finishing the season

Like the majority of the cyclists present at the Giro d'Italia route presentation, Matthews will head to RCS Sport's new race, the Abu Dhabi Tour starting this Thursday where he is looking to add to his five wins so far this season.

"I still kept on training from Worlds till now so I kept my shape and hopefully I can get some results there as well. The season isn’t finished yet to so I want to keep going until it’s actually finished for me," he said of his ambitions for the new race.

Matthews' last race was the World Championships in Richmond where he finished in second place behind Peter Sagan of Slovakia while national and trade teammate Simon Gerrans was sixth. In the aftermath of his silver medal, Matthews questioned the tactics of the Australian team, asking why he and Gerrans where sprinting against each other rather than chasing down Sagan.

When asked of his relationship with the 2014 Worlds silver medallist, Matthews explained that "I think it's professional cycling and everyone trying to achieve their own goals and that's the way it is," adding that doesn't believe it will be a problem in the future.

"I don’t think so, I think it should be fine."

Gerrans and Matthews are unlikely to race together until early in the 2016 season with Matthews deciding on a short trip to Australia and spending the winter in Europe for the second year in succession rather than racing the full summer calendar as Gerrans has said he will do.

While the silver medal memories may still be fresh for Matthews, a victory in Abu Dhabi and time off during the off-season would go someway to erasing the pain and continuing his run of winning a stage in five of the six stage races he started in 2016.

"It's been a hard week being that close to the World Championships stripes. It's really difficult and I've never really been in that sort of place before to take the rainbow stripes so the first time is really going to be difficult."

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