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Inside Sport - - Flashing the Green -

It would prove a for­tu­itous trip to the velo­drome in Apel­doorn, the Nether­lands. Matthews, then 20 and newly based in Europe as a pro­fes­sional cy­clist, thought he should head along to the 2011 track world cham­pi­onships to cheer on house-mate and fel­low Aus­tralian Ro­han Dennis. What was in­tended as a show of sup­port would ul­ti­mately change Matthews’ life, be­cause at the velo­drome he met Katarína Ha­jze­rová.

“Kat”, as Matthews calls his now-wife (they mar­ried in 2015), has been a con­stant ever since. A Slo­vakian with a back­ground in mar­ket­ing, she has put her ca­reer on hold to help Matthews achieve his cy­cling am­bi­tions. “Kat is the one that gets me out of bed in the morn­ing and on the bike,” he ex­plains. “Kat has de­voted her­self to get­ting me where I am now – she quit her job and works to­wards mak­ing sure I have the best pos­si­ble prepa­ra­tion for ev­ery race. I re­ally have to give her a lot of credit for my suc­cess.”

The cou­ple lives in Monaco with GiGi, a dachs­hund Matthews has pre­vi­ously ded­i­cated a stage win to. While the citys­tate prin­ci­pal­ity wedged be­tween France and the Mediter­ranean has its prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits, Matthews ad­mits he misses home.

“Ev­ery­one has their own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Monaco,” he says. “For me it is some­where to live. It has no taxes, which is great, and the train­ing is amaz­ing – there are so many op­tions. But the life­style is too over-the-top for me: too crazy, too fake. I re­ally miss Can­berra and the re­laxed life­style. You don’t meet too many nor­mal peo­ple in Monaco.”

One ben­e­fit of liv­ing in Monaco is the com­mu­nity of Aus­tralian cy­clists based there, in­clud­ing Richie Porte, Caleb Ewan and Tif­fany Cromwell. Matthews says the Aus­tralians reg­u­larly ride to­gether when they are not away rac­ing. “Richie Porte is al­ways good value – he makes me laugh,” Matthews adds.

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