Posts Tagged ‘Endurance Sports’

Michael Matthews out of Tour de France

In an instant Michael Matthews had his dream of riding the Tour de France ripped from him. After being so thrilled with his selection to the Orica GreenEdge team to ride the Tour de France, Michael Matthews lost it all in one training accident.

The 23 year-old from Canberra fell heavily on a raining ride only days away from fulfilling his dream. He suffered serious cuts and abrasions along his left arm and leg and required six stitches to his hand. Team doctors felt it would be in neither Michael’s nor the team’s interests to allow him to compete.

Michael Matthews. Photo: www.new.com.au

Michael Matthews. Photo: www.new.com.au

A shattered Michael Matthews had no choice but to accept their decision.

Matthews departure opens the way for Canadian flyer, and team mate, Christian Meier. Witin hours of the doctor’s assessment Meier recievded his call up and was on an aeroplane from Vancouver to England.” It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said a still clearly reeling Meier, “it has been a little bit of a whirlwind 24 hours.”

Meier felt awful for his teammate Matthews, but is seizing his chance to ride the great race nonetheless. “It’s every bike rider’s dream to do the Tour de France one day and it’s unbelievable that it is happening.”

Matthew’s departure is the latest in a series of upsets to the preparation of the Orica GreenEdge team. The latest being the loss of Daryl Impey last week. Impey failed a doping test and was instantly dropped. Impey made history last year when he became the African to wear the Tour’s leader’s yellow jersey.

Michael Matthews to Contest his First Tour de France

Aussie cyclist Michael Matthews is under no illusions he is in for a rough time competing in his first Tour de France.

Michael Matthews. Photo: www.couriermail.com.au

Michael Matthews. Photo: www.couriermail.com.au

Orica-GreenEDGE has seclected the 23 year-old Canberra rider in their starting line because of his phenomenal form in several lead up races. Matthews has had to give his all just to make the team and is well aware more – much more – will be demanded of him in the actual race.

“It’s every cyclist’s dream to ride the Tour de France,” he told news.com.au reporters, “and once you work so hard to get selected, you’ve really got to step it up to another level to be able to do something in the race. Everyone is there with 110 per cent their best form and there are 200 guys wanting to make a difference in the race. So making the team is the first step, the second step is doing something in the race.”

On Saturday more than 200 cyclists will set off from the U.K. start point. They will begin one of the most gruelling endurance events on the sporting calendar. Matthews is cautiously optimistic about his call up to the team. He has ridden the Dauphine, Vuelta, and this year the Giro (all world class stage races). But he is aware of the extra demand and intensity of the Tour de France.

Since completing the Giro d’ Italia Matthews has done three weeks of altitude training in Slovenia. He has worked very closely with his coach, Brian Stephens, to bring himself to the pinnacle of his cycling form. Apart from altitude training Matthews has put in endless kilometres of motor pacing in an effort to improve his high-end average speed.

Understanding what racing in the Tour de France means to him, Matthews’ partner and family are flying out from Australia to wish him well.

All of Australia with you well Michael.

Audis too Strong for the Field in this Year’s 24 hour Le Mans

An early deluge saw competitors piling up across the track as the 24 hour Le Mans race roared into life.

At the front Stepahne Sarrazin was determinedly holding off all comers in his Toyota. He paced himself magnificently, always driving within his limits. When the track began to dry he began taking risks and managed to hand the lead over to his partner driver Kazuki Nakajima.

Porsche

Porsche

After nine hours Andre Lotterer pushed into second place behind the slick Toyota team. From this point on Audi began eating into the one lap lead held by Toyota.

Twelve hours in and the battle was well and truly joined. Stephane Sarrazin is leading the Audis of Lotterer and Kristensen. The Audis are making huge gains, being able to run their tyres for four sessions as against the Toyota’s three.

But a shock ran through the Audi garage as their leader developed technical problems. Wurz’s Toyota, in second and battling off the other two Audis, claws back at the lead.

For the next few hours the garages of both Audi and Toyota are busy with impromptu stops and a chain of irritating mechanical problems. The lead changes hands between the manufacturers and the mechanics are tested again and again.

With less than three hours remaining the leading Audi of Kristensen dies in Mulsanne Straight. Kristensen fights to keep his car moving and limps into the pits. In an incredible display of teamwork and technical skill the Audi mechanics replace the car’s turbo charger in a mere 17 minutes. But this this is still enough time to give Timo Bernard the lead in his Porsche.

Lotterer screeches out of the pits and storms after him. Bernhard reacts and pushes his Porsche to the limit.

But as the laps go by the Audi proves itself the quicker car and Bernhard’s Porsche is reeled in.

With less than 90 minutes to go the Porsche 919 is pushed too hard and loses power. With their main rival gone the Audi race team of Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer cross the finish line ahead of all rivals. In total the three men clocked up an astounding 5165.39 kilometres.