Crash puts Matthews' Tour debut in doubt

Michael Matthews on the podium

Michael Matthews on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Michael Matthews' Tour de France debut is in doubt following a training crash which required six stiches in the palm of his hand. A decision on the 23-year-old's participation will be made at the last minute by his Orica-GreenEdge team as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Matthews wore the Giro d'Italia's race leader's jersey for six days in May and also won stage six while wearing the maglia rosa before withdrawing from the race due to injury.

"At the moment he will be at the start line but ... We are going to see how it goes," Orica-GreenEdge head sports director Matt White was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying.

"He is going to ride on the home trainer tomorrow [Thursday] and we will see what happens. But he has hurt himself.

"He has [six] stitches in his hand ... I can't remember if it's right or left, but it's not an ideal start to your first Tour de France."

White described the crash occurred when Matthews "hit a piece of stone ... on a deviation on a bit of gravelly road" while out training.

"It's not an ideal start for the Tour de France for anybody, especially for your first Tour," White said adding that as a result, Matthews' moral had been "up and down, that's for sure."

"But he has put a lot of preparation in his first Tour and he is not going to let that preparation go to waste," White said.

The former U23 world champion is to be GreenEdge's protected sprinter at the Tour and his characteristics are suited to the opening stages in Yorkshire.

Matthews' last race was the Tour de Slovénie where he won the opening prologue and won the points classification after an enforced break due to a back injury.

While the team is considering several backup options should Matthews fail to recover in time, White would not speculate who that would be but stated: "we will race with nine [riders]. It is too big a race to start with one short," he said.

Despite wearing the yellow jersey last year, Daryl Impey will not be considered after it was announced he had tested positive for Probenecid at the South African national championships earlier this year.

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