Former teammate Mat Hayman has lent his support to Michael Matthews move to Team Sunweb (formerly Giant-Alpecin) next season, saying that it is the right decision to further his ambitions. Matthews signed a three-year deal with the German-registered squad and Hayman believes that Matthews has his eyes set on taking the green jersey next season.
"Michael is very ambitious, and one of the things he will probably want to have a go at is that green jersey at the Tour de France,” Hayman told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Hayman and Matthews have been teammates at Orica-GreenEdge, now Orica-BikeExchange, since 2014. In that time, Matthews has developed into a good Classics-style sprinter, winning hillier races and taking podium finishes at races such as Milan-San Remo and the Amstel Gold Race. He won his first Tour de France stage this year, added to the stage wins he already has at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana.
The team has developed in that time too, as they change from stage hunters to Grand Tour contenders with Esteban Chaves, and Adam and Simon Yates. This season, Chaves has racked up podiums at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana, while Adam Yates took fourth at the Tour de France and the young rider’s classification. With the team pooling their resources behind those three, Hayman says Matthews needed to leave.
"I think that's something burning inside him and probably at the moment, this team isn't the ideal fit for that with a number of young guys concentrating on GC,” Hayman explained. "I think he's moved there because the green jersey is something he wants to target and he'll get full support. He's an exciting prospect."
Sagan has had a monopoly on the green jersey since making his Tour de France debut in 2012 and has his hopes set on a record-equalling sixth in 2017. The closest anyone has come to unseating the Slovakian was in 2015 when André Greipel was just 66 points shy.
Cyclingnews spoke to Matthews about his switch to Team Sunweb and his ambitions for 2017, and you can read the full interview here.