Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) headed home from Milan-San Remo with a huge bandage on his right elbow but his disappointment at missing out at a shot for victory seemed far more painful and will no doubt leave some deeper scars.
Matthews was fortunate to escape with just superficial wounds after he crashed at speed as the peloton accelerated on the approach to the Cipressa climb. He bravely got up, ignored the pain and chased, with blood running down his arm and onto his handlebars. He apparently made contact with the back of the peloton at one point could only finish 59th in a chase group at 36 seconds.
“Obviously I’m devastated,” said Matthews at the finish. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the team rode really well all day and everything was going perfectly.
“This was everything, this was my world championships for the start of the season. I was flying today and had no real troubles all day. I was really looking forward to making a good finale, it’s really unfortunate that a crash stopped me from doing that.”
A dozen or so riders were involved in the crash, including Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff), Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida). The riders were packed tight at the time. Mathews was near the front of the peloton but went into a concrete gully and wall on the right side of the road. He suggested that some riders were taking far too many risks.
“I was fourth wheel in the bunch and for some reason one of the teams wanted to go from the right of the road to the left and overlap the wheel of in front of me. I came down at 50 or 60km/h,” he explained.
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