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Michael Matthews confirmed for Strade Bianche debut

PALMANOVA SPAIN JANUARY 26 Michael Matthews of Australia and Team BikeExchange Jayco competes during the 31st Challenge Ciclista Mallorca 2022 Trofeo Calvia a 1547km race from Peguera to Palmanova ChallengeMallorca on January 26 2022 in Palmanova Spain Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Michael Matthews (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Michael Matthews will line out for his Strade Bianche debut on Saturday after recently recovering from COVID-19. After racing Paris-Nice in eight of the past nine seasons, the Australian is set to make only his second Tirreno-Adriatico appearance next week as he builds towards Milan-San Remo.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to do Strade Bianche, for a lot of years I have been pushing to be able to start this race. In the past I always ended up training and focusing for Paris-Nice preparation instead, so it wasn’t possible to do Strade,” Matthews said in a statement released by BikeExchange-Jayco on Wednesday.

“It is such an iconic race, here in Tuscany with all the white roads up and down through the Tuscan hills and I am really looking forward to starting the race.”

In years past, Matthews often delayed the start of his season until March, but he began his 2022 campaign notably early, lining out on all five days of the Challenge Mallorca in late January. His by-now habitual February altitude camp was interrupted by COVID-19, but he expressed confidence that his preparation for the spring had not been unduly hindered.

“I have had really good preparation, everything went to plan,” Matthews said. “I just had a small break due to Covid when I was in altitude for a training camp, but I now feel good and I am looking forward to getting this next racing block under way.”

Matthews returned to the GreenEdge set-up in 2021 after a four-year spell at Sunweb. For the first time in his career, he went through an entire season without a win, although he placed 6th at Milan-San Remo, 4th at Amstel Gold Race and second on the opening stage of the Tour de France.

He will be joined in the BikeExchange-Jayco line-up in Tuscany by Sam Bewley, Kevin Colleoni, Tsgabu Grmay, Alexander Konychev and Matteo Sobrero.

“We enter Strade Bianche with Michael Matthews as our leader for this edition,” said directeur sportif Gene Bates. “It will be his first experience in this unique race, but we are confident that he is well trained for it and with his riding characteristic, we can expect a good performance from him.”

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