Talented young Australian all-rounder Michael Matthews claimed Rabobank’s eleventh victory of the season when he crossed the finish line of the Tour of Murcia’s stage one ahead of Sky’s Russ Downing and Davide Appollonio

The reigning U-23 World road Champion, Matthews had already won a stage of the Tour Down Under this season before his sprint win in Alhama de Murcia.

Triple Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) finished 15th, unaffected by a crash in the final kilometre.

Running through hilly territory in central Murcia and run off in rough weather, the day’s racing featured a lengthy six-man break, with last survivor Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun) managing to stay away until ten kilometres to go.

Rabobank, Saxo Bank and Sky worked the hardest to ensure a bunch sprint, with Matthews continuing the Dutch squad’s latest victory in what is probably their best early season ever.

Britain’s Chris Froome got caught up in the crash in the final kilometre but initial fears that he had broken his collarbone have now been ruled out.

“The team did well and worked hard throughout the stage and Russ did a great job leading out Davide, but it didn’t quite work out because Davide didn’t have the legs to finish it off,” team sports director Servais Knaven told Cycling Weekly.

“Chris did his work in the last kilometre was injured after somebody rode into him from behind, and we thought at first his collarbone was broken.”

“Now it seems to be ok, he has some wounds from the crash and we have to see how it develops, but he may even be able to start tomorrow.”

Saturday’s stage takes the riders into the mountains with a first category ascent of Alto de Collado Bermejo coming shortly before the finish in Sierra Espuna.

Results

Tour of Murcia 2011, stage one: San Pedro del Pinatar to Alhama de Murcia, 178.7 km

1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank in 4-26-09

2. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky

3. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Team Sky

4. Aitor Galdos (Spa) Caja Rural

5. Martin Reimer (Ger) Skil-Shimano

6. Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (Den) Saxo Bank-Sungard

7. Robert Forster (Ger) United Healthcare

8. Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil-Shimano

9. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC

10. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun all same time. 

Overall classification after stage one

1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank


2. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky

3. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Team Sky

4. Aitor Galdos (Spa) Caja Rural

5. Martin Reimer (Ger) Skil-Shimano

Russell Downing leads, Tour of Murcia 2011, stage one



Russell Downing leads the bunch

David Zabriskie, Tour of Murcia 2011, stage one



David Zabriskie takes a snack

Michael Matthews wins, Tour of Murcia 2011 stage one

Michael Matthews celebrates his win

Michael Matthews wins stage one and wears leader



Michael Matthews in the leader’s jersey

Related links



Contador heads field in three-day Tour of Murcia 2011