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There are now nine Australian riders left in the 2018 Tour de France. We spoke with the first of two to abandon an hour after Richie Porte was knocked out of the race in a crash…
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Two Australian riders who had big hopes for the Tour de France in 2018 were Michael Matthews and Richie Porte. They are close friends, have recently become a father for the first time, both live in Monaco… and this July, instead of doing their jobs in a bike race, they’ll watch the final fortnight of the Tour from the lounge with their families.
RIDE Media spoke with Matthews while Porte was being tended to by the race’s medicos and this is what he had to say…:
“I’ve just been at home trying to recuperate from my illness. I haven’t been on the bike since I got sick but I was hoping that Richie could fly the flag for Australia this year.
“Last year after he crashed he was really supportive of me to achieve my goals.
“I was hoping that I could do the same for him this year. He’s a good mate and although we’re on different teams, we are always supportive of each other.
“If I could help at all, I was there for him – even if it was just to chat and talk to someone who knows how it is to be at the Tour and trying to do big things. I was trying to do as much as I could.”
Matthews has been home for a few days after he was struck down with a fever that caused vomiting and forced him to quit the race while ranked ninth on GC. His Tour ended almost as soon as it began. Winning the green jersey last year was a dream come true but now he is at home with his six-month-old daughter and wife Katarina.
“I was not really wanting to watch this stage,” admitted Matthews. “We were trying not to see too much but we found out on Twitter that he’d abandoned and, I have to admit, it’s a pretty dull moment.”
Of course, cycling isn’t the only thing in the lives of these fierce competitors and the consolation, it was suggested, is that they get to spend time with their young children. Matthews replied: “Sure, but you also want to show your kids in the future that you’ve done the biggest race of the year and achieved your goals.
“The consolation prize is going home to the family but in the end you work so hard to try and have the opportunity to achieve your goal. That’s over for us both now.
“Everyone knows how well Riche was going before this happened and I’m sure he’ll be upset. It’s pretty heartbreaking.”
– By Rob Arnold