The ProTour gained one more Australian after the Rabobank squad signed Canberra native Michael Matthews. Just weeks shy of his 20th birthday, Matthews will ride with the Dutch team's top tier squad for the next two seasons.
Matthews, currently riding for the Jayco Skins continental team, attracted attention from the Rabobank directors while competing against the team in the U23 Tour of Flanders, where he took second, the Ringerike GP where he won two stages, and the Thüringen Rundfahrt where he led the race for two stages.
He is the seventh new rider to be announced for the Rabobank team, along with Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank), Maarten Wynants (Quick Step), Theo Bos (Cervelo) and Rabobank Continental team graduates Coen Vermeltfoort and Tom-Jelt Slagter.
Matthews is currently riding the Tour de l'Avenir, where he was third in the prologue, second on the first stage and is sitting 14th overall in the standings.
Rabobank manager Erik Breukink was impressed by the well-rounded talents of this young rider, who is a strong time trialist and a fast finisher. "He is considered a top talent, there were several ProTour teams interested in him, but we are proud of the fact that we were able to contract him," said Breukink.
"There aren't very many riders with this kind of talent at this level. We have been watching him since January, and he has proven to be a rider with a big engine and an excellent attitude. He hasn't been racing so long, so his development can still go very far."
Matthews and Liquigas-Doimo's recent recruit Cameron Wurf will bring the number of Australians in the ProTour up to at least 26 in 2011.