Michael Matthews crashes out of Paris-Nice

Australian falls on stage 1

Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) was an early victim at Paris-Nice, crashing out on stage 1 to Saint-Germain-en-Laye on Sunday. The Australian came into the French race looking to improve his form ahead of Milan-San Remo but was left on the deck on the first stage.

Matthews made his season debut in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and, despite a fall in the Belgian one-day race, was able finish 12th.

Team Sunweb confirmed the news of Matthews' fall and subsequent departure from the race on Twitter. He hit the deck with just under 80km of the 138.5km stage remaining, at a period of high tension as strong crosswinds hit the peloton.

The race had already split into echelons and come back together, but the pace was building again when Matthews crashed, though it's not clear exactly what caused it. 

Matthews quickly abandoned the race, though it is not clear at this point how severe his injuries are. 

"Michael and Martijn [Tusveld, who also crashed -ed] are receiving further medical checks to assess their injuries and more information will follow," read a statement from Team Sunweb. 

Matthews had a winning record in Paris-Nice, winning three stages between 2015 and 2016. His start to the 2018 campaign was derailed by a shoulder injury in his first race at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and he only turned things around towards the end of the season by winning the GP de Montréal and GP de Québec.  

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