Michael Matthews has just missed out on his second win of the season at the Tour de Suisse but reckons he only had himself to blame for his runners-up spot.
The Team BikeExchange-Jayco star was just edged out in a massed sprint finish to stage four in Brunnen after leaving himself too much to do in the denouement to Wednesday’s 190.8km run from Grenchen.
“I’m very disappointed in myself,” said Matthews, who’d been hoping to earn his second win of the year following his Volta a Catalunya stage victory in March but ended being pipped by South African veteran Daryl Impey (Israel-Premier Tech).
“I made a big mistake in the final corner, a lot of guys passed me, but not all sprinters.
“Then I had to come back past them again in the final straight to the finish and had to start my sprint really early, I think with around 400 or 500 metres to go to get back to actually fight for the victory.
“I had really good speed, I had really good legs, but just made a silly mistake through the final corner.”
It was doubly frustrating for the 31-year-old, a fine sprinter who felt he had done the hard work by clinging on to the leading group on the final climb before regrouping for the sprint finale.
“I fought really hard to get over the final climb, I had a teammate with me to pace me over the very top and bring me into the sprint. But I was just bombarded into the final corner and, unfortunately, I couldn’t launch my sprint like the way I wanted to.”
Though he was closing relentlessly on his 37-year-old former teammate Impey at the finish, Matthews had to settle for a second top-three spot of the week following his third-placed finish on Monday’s second stage.
Matthews now lies third in the points classification while Britain’s Bahrain-Victorious rider Stevie Williams leads the race overall by just six seconds.
Meanwhile, the Tour of Slovenia began with double Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar looking in ominously good form in his first race since April, finishing third on the opening 164.7km stage from Nova Gorica to Postojna.
He launched an attack and ending up letting his teammate Rafal Majka take the victory after the Pole had done much to eliminate Pogacar’s main gc rivals and left the 23-year-old already in sight of a third overall victory in his home tour.