Orica-GreenEdge's sports director Julian Dean recognised stage five of the Giro d'Italia had been the toughest yet for the Australian team in the race but said that despite his inexperience, race leader Michael Matthews had come through with flying colours - as indeed, had the team in general.
"We got caught a little on the back foot at the beginning of the stage and had to try and correct that," Dean told Cyclingnews at the finish in Viggiano, where Matthews took sixth and remained in the lead. "But the guys managed to do that."
Then on the final climb, where Matthews stayed close to the front and was contending for Orica-GreenEdge's second stage of the Giro, Dean said that Matthew had kept a very cool head despite the pressure of leading the world's second biggest stage race.
"It was impressive for a young guy to get there, not to lose too much time and get through the way he did. It was a good effort."
With the changes in the weather — generally for the worse — as well as strong cross winds and headwinds and several climbs, the stage was not an easy one in anybody's book, either, no matter their level of experience.
"I think the whole day was hard, if they had had a circuit like that at the end of an easier day it could have been quite a different result, but it showed just how hard it was."
Nor has the weather shown any sign of improvement yet, in the race's second day on Italian soil, and as Dean points out "we're heading north", meaning it is less likely to improve, at least in the short-term.
Even so, Matthews - a winner of a stage in the equally rainy País Vasco race in April — has shown he is more than capable of handling the bad weather in Italy in May, too. And Orica-GreenEdge continue to reap the benefits.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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