Orica-GreenEdge's Michael Matthews crossed the line in first place to win Stage 4 at the Tour de Suisse, beating Tinkoff-Saxo's Peter Sagan and BMC's Greg Van Avermaet, for his first victory since the Giro d'Italia. The win extends Matthews' run of claiming a stage at all four stage races he's started in 2015; Paris-Nice, Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and the Giro.
"It was always going to be difficult," Matthews said. "The way (Sagan) sprinted yesterday was really strong. I knew I just had to glue myself to his wheel and then see what I had left to come over him."
Matthews teammates Michael Albasini and Daryl Impey had worked hard to catch the five-rider breakaway, which never had more than a three minute advantage on the peloton, before the sprint to the finish to cap off the team effort.
Albasini had hoped to try for the win near his hometown but knew it was a day for Matthews.
"It's incredible for a guy of that experience and that I have so much respect for, to help me in a final like this. It's really special," Matthews concluded.
"Today was a really big objective," sport director Neil Stephens said, speaking of Matthews who is building his lead-up to the Tour de France next month. “It was a stage we knew we wanted to go well in, and it was a stage we were not afraid to put ourselves on the line to go for the victory."
The win confirms Matthews is on track for his Tour debut next month. The 24-year-old had planned to make his debut in 2014 but a crash on the eve of the race ruled him out of the race with injuries to his hand. Matthews put the disappointment behind him with a win at the Vuelta a España and several days in the leader's jersey.
This week will be the final test of form for many of the sprinters heading to the Tour de France grand depart next month.