Australian gets a bit more 'bling' to go with his nickname...

Michael Matthews of Australia timed his sprint perfectly to clinch the men's under-23 road race title in Geelong today, passing Germany's John Degenkolb metres from the line. Unusually, there was a tie for third place between the USA's Taylor Phinney and Canada's Guillaume Boivin - there's nothing between them in the photo-finish - the pair looking rather amused as they jointly held the bronze medal aloft.

Matthews, who only turned 20 last weekend, is set to join Rabobank for next season, and was the protected rider in the Australian squad, emerging from the bunch of 50-odd riders contesting the finale to big cheers from home fans.

The rider is nicknamed 'Bling' due to his penchant for jewellery, earrings and neck chains being his favourites apparently, and now he has a gold medal to add to his collection, plus of course a rainbow jersey to go with it.

Earlier in the 159km race, the shortest in the history of the event, there was a headache for commentators as US road race champion Ben King got off the front with the Australian rider Ben King, but those two were brought back.

Subsequently, a coupe of legendary Italian names from yesteryear, both former world road race champions, figured at the head of the race as Moreno Moser, nephew of the great Francesco, went on a solo attack on his ISD Neri team issue Cipollini bike.

The American King and Britain's Alex Dowsett got away from the group to try and bridge the gap, but they and Moser were reeled in one by one as the race moved into its penultimate lap of the 15.9km circuit.

After the bell, French rider Tony Gallopin got off the front as he had done on the previous lap, but it was always going to be a struggle to stay ahead of the chasing peloton as the riders shaped up fro the bunch sprint, the first time the race has finished in that manner since Stuttgart in 2007 when Peter Velits,the HTC-Columbia rider who finished third in last month's Vuelta, took the rainbow jersey.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


antonio [1168 posts] 7 years ago

Saw the finish live on a belgian programme, a fantastic bunch finish, doubts about such a finish have now surely been dispelled for the big one, Cav has a real chance on this eveidence.

Simon_MacMichael [2503 posts] 7 years ago

Agree, you have to assume that Gilbert will be marked as never before heading into that bigger climb, and given where the two hills are on the course, I doubt that anyone would be able to get enough of an advantage there to prevent being reeled in by the finish.

Having said that, I can see some sort of split happening in an earlier lap, and if a decent sized group, does get away, it could well stay clear to the finish. That in turn means that Cav is going to need to keep near the front once the race hits Geelong, and he's unlikely to have anyone else do him favours.