Following the announcement last week that Michael Matthews will be leaving Rabobank at the end of this season for Orica-GreenEdge, the Australian sprinter has revealed that missing out on a ride at the Tour de France has left him supremely motivated to take on Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) next year.
In an interview with the Canberra Times, Matthews explained that he believes he has what it takes to take on the Slovakian rider.
"I'm really close to him in most of the races so seeing him win three stages in the Tour and me sitting at home watching it on TV was pretty hard," the 22-year-old said.
"I think maybe next year I might be ready to give [the Tour] a go, I think this year it was nice to watch it on the TV and make myself more angry and excited to go there for next year."
Matthews told the newspaper that in accepting the deal from the Australian outfit, he rejected Rabobank's offer of a three-year contract extension.
"Rabobank weren't too happy because I was their young rising star, they wanted to keep me for the next three years but they can understand it's an Australian professional team and it's the first one, so they understand I want to be a part of that," Matthews said.
Ideally, it's a move that Matthews would have liked to have made following his under 23 world championship win in Geelong in 2010 but he does not regret his time with Rabobank which resulted in a stage victory in his first-ever WorldTour race, the Tour Down Under in 2011 and then Rund um Köln. This year he claimed the Dutch team's first win of the 2012 season at Clásica de Almería and just last week, Matthews won the sprint classification at the Tour of Utah.
"I think it's every Australian's dream to ride for an Australian pro team, this is the first one ever so it's a really big achievement for Australian cycling and a really big thing for us to ride with almost the green and gold stripes on our back every race."
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