Australian team shines at Tour de France

·2-min read

Michael Matthews and BikeExchange-Jayco have their mojo back.

Australia's first and only top-level cycling team marked Sunday's last day of the Tour de France with two big announcements.

Matthews, who scored the biggest win of his career by taking out stage 14, had re-signed for another year.

And a decade after the team started as GreenEDGE, owner Gerry Ryan confirmed his support would continue for three more years.

Matthews' stage win was his first at the Tour in five years and it ended a lean run of form for the prolific rider.

Ryan's continued backing came two years after Shayne Bannan, the original team boss, left the team following a failed Spanish takeover bid.

The team then managed only nine wins last year, before rebounding with 17 already this season.

For rider and team, this Tour felt like confirmation of a renewal.

Their Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen, also won a stage and he finished second as well in Paris.

"We've showed a very dominant team performance," director Matt White, who has been with the team since its inception, said.

"I'm super-proud of the way the team has united and rode very, very tight this whole Tour.

"All sporting organisation go through those periods. Out of our 10-year history, we've had one year that was below our standards.

"That's business, that's sport. The strong survive."

It was a Tour of marked contrasts for Australian cycling.

Simon Clarke also won a stage, months after his career looked over until he managed a last-minute contract with Israel-Premier Tech.

But he and BikeExchange-Jayco mainstay Luke Durbridge did not finish the Tour because of COVID-19.

Sprint ace Caleb Ewan had the dubious distinction of becoming only the second Australian to claim the Lantern Rouge as the Tour's last-placed rider and he failed to win a stage.

But at least he finished - overall hopes Ben O'Connor and Jack Haig crashed out in the opening week.

Matthews' teammate Nick Schultz was the top-placed Australian in 23rd, while Michael Storer and Chris Hamilton also rode into Paris.

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