Matthews, team boss lament lack of respect

Michael Matthews and his team boss have lamented the lack of respect in the peloton as the Australian cycling star reels from his Tour Down Under disaster.

Matthews probably would have finished Thursday's second stage as race leader, but a clash of bikes at a crucial moment in the race cost him dearly.

Matthews' dropped chain meant he lost contact with the peloton and he finished more than two minutes off the pace, his overall hopes gone.

The Australian spoke of the lack of respect among riders in a TV interview once he finished on Thursday and then immediately afterward had angry words with young American rider Magnus Sheffield.

Matthews' wife Kat stepped in between the pair.

Speaking after Friday's third stage, Matthews and Sheffield reiterated that they had cleared the air since the stage two dramas.

But Matthews and his Jayco-AlUla director Matt White have added their voices to growing concerns about an alarming lack of respect in the men's World Tour peloton.

"I think it's coming from a lot of different sides," Matthews said.

"The DS's (team bosses) in the race radio are telling the riders to get to the front all the time. There's constant stress. We all have stress, we all have pressure on us, we all want to win.

"As long as we all stay on the road, and give each other a bit more space - moving up on the dirt, when we are going super-fast at the bottom of the climb and already in good position, was really unnecessary."

White is among several other experienced figures in the sport, including Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who have also pointed to the problem.

"The riders complain about road safety, but the way they treat each other - they should have a good look at themselves," White said earlier on Friday.

"At the end of the day, what goes around, comes around. Respect is a mutual thing.

"We're all on the same page there - before there was a degree of respect between each other and it certainly seems to be dissipating fast."

For his part, Sheffield said he was bumped by another rider and that caused his contact with Matthews.

"I have huge respect for Matthews and everything he's accomplished. He's a rider I've looked up to ever since I got into the sport," Sheffield said.

"I felt it was already settled between us yesterday but we confirmed that again today mutually.

"Some bumping happened. I don't think it was Matthews, it was another rider.

"I didn't actually go off the road, I was trying to avoid the gravel and that's when you saw another rider come in contact."

Matthews took fourth place on Friday's stage and he leads the points classification, while Sheffield heads the young rider category.