ON THE HOME FRONT
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.