‘ Bling’ sparkles in elite group
HE missed his sister’s wedding so as not to compromise his preparations for a race.
He also goes by the nickname “Bling” for his penchant for sparkling adornment and lavish cars.
Meet Michael Matthews – flashy exterior but fiercely driven interior.
The 26- year- old Australian rider for Team Sunweb will tomorrow, barring freakish misfortune, become only the third Australian to win the Tour de France green jersey.
Matthews’ story is proof that when natural athletic gifts are nurtured by hard work and a stubborn determination, there is no ceiling.
The son of hairdresser Donna and butcher Allan, Matthews was raised in the southern Canberra suburb of Farrer as a BMX- mad kid.
He was racing them by seven before moving to motocross. But caught up in the wrong crowd at school, Matthews could easily have gone “the other way”.
That he didn’t might be due in large part to Des Proctor, the PE teacher at Matthews’ Melrose High School who opened some doors for the kid whose natural fitness caught his eye.
Proctor urged Matthews to attend a talent identification session with the ACT Academy of Sport at 15. Without preparing, Matthews recorded a 15.8 beep test.
“They basically said I’d be good at rowing or cycling,” Matthews said years later.
But at 16, a fire was set off inside Matthews and nothing was going to put it out.
He will join Robbie McEwen ( 2002, 2004, 2006) and Baden Cooke ( 2003) as the only Australians to have won the green jersey.
England’s Chris Froome was well placed to take the overall title for a fourth time heading into today’s time trial.