Rabobank has had a huge presence at the Amgen Tour of California, with beer flowing freely in huge VIP tents in each finish town as the company tries to increase its market share in the state, but so far in the Amgen Tour of California its team has come up dry in the race. That changed today when Australian sprinter Michael Matthews claimed third in stage 4 from Sonora to Clovis and landed on the day's stage podium behind winner Peter Sagan and Heinrich Haussler.
It wasn't necessarily a day for the sprinters considering the six classified climbs and a few more thrown in for good measure, and Matthews said that he very nearly was dropped on a late climb.
"I only thought there were six climbs, and when we got to the seventh climb I got dropped with 2km to go to the top," he explained. "Luckily I was with Tom Boonen and his team, and they rode me back to the bunch."
It's been a tough second professional year for Matthews, who crashed spectacularly in Tirreno-Adriatico and then again in the opening stage in California. The falls had shaken his confidence but today his team rallied behind him and put him in a prime spot in the finale.
"I think my team just got me motivated and said 'stay on our wheel and we'll put you in a good position'," Matthews explained. "It was just about trust and I had to try again after the first day when I accidentally crashed
"It was hard for the confidence to get going again after crashing."
Four sprints in four days, and nobody has been able to get the better of Sagan. Can Matthews get one in on the last day in Los Angeles on Sunday?
"I think [if] I start my sprint before him, because when he kicks he just goes, but if I start my sprint before and maybe get the jump on him, maybe it's possible."
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.
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