The Australian entered the 183.5km race on the short, steep climb wearing the green jersey and confident the course would suit him better than Saturday’s Grand Départ where he edged Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) in a impressive sprint for second place behind Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep).However, Matthews couldn’t keep up with the pace that shattered the field and allowed the title contenders to win on the punitive finish circuit. He arrived at 2:40 behind stage winner Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), with yellow jersey favorites Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) and Roglič completing the podium.
“I guess after my performance yesterday, I had high expectations of myself. Maybe yesterday took more from me than I thought. In short, yes, disappointed, ”said Matthews after the race.
The 30-year-old, who has made a smooth transition to BikeExchange this season after a four-year absence, couldn’t identify what was wrong.
“Not really sure. We positioned ourselves very well on entering the circuit and the first time on the climb, my legs totally exploded. It felt like I was a different cyclist from yesterday, unfortunately. Yesterday I could do whatever I wanted and today unfortunately I couldn’t, ”he said.
“I just tried to survive the first time on Mûr de Bretagne and then we had the climb just after, which was also very difficult. And then by returning to the bottom, the last time on the Mûr de Bretagne, I went out of the seat and backed up faster than I was advancing. “
Matthews said the aftermath of two big crashes that punctuated Stage 1 didn’t affect the peloton’s mood or the way he raced.
“I think it was the same. I thought maybe people would calm down a bit but no. It’s the Tour de France and it’s the first week and there are jerseys up for grabs for at least one day so everyone will try and take it. “
The 2017 green jersey winner, who was consoled by a teammate at the finish, potentially has another chance for a win in Stage 3 but did not consider it right away on Sunday.
“We’ll take a look from now on to see what we’re doing. I suppose [we will] try to overcome today first, then see what we do tomorrow, ”he said.