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Matthews makes cycling move

AAP logoAAP 5/08/2016 Roger Vaughan

Australian cycling star Michael Matthews will leave Orica-BikeExchange with their blessing, though they say he will be missed.

The Australian team's general manager Shayne Bannan says the main reason Matthews is leaving is that Orica-BikeExchange cannot properly support his aim of winning the green jersey classification at the Tour de France.

Asked if Matthews' well-documented difference of opinion last September with teammate Simon Gerrans was a factor, Bannan told AAP "definitely not".

Matthews, who won his first Tour de France stage last month, will leave Orica-BikeExchange at the end of this season and join Sunweb-Giant on a three-year deal.

It follows several weeks of speculation that Matthews would switch teams.

It is also the first significant loss in this transfer period for Orica-BikeExchange, who have been busy.

They have signed Roman Kreuziger and Carlos Verona to support their growing general classification ambitions in the Grand Tours.

Rising Australian sprint star Caleb Ewan has re-signed for two years and Roger Kluge will also join the team to help him.

They hope to re-sign emerging talents Simon and Adam Yates in the next week.

For the Tour de France, Matthews effectively was caught between the team's dual aims of winning the race and also picking up stages.

"Of course, the focal point of the season is the Tour de France - it's what everybody talks about and what everybody gauges their success on," Bannan said.

"By going more GC (general classification), we definitely compromise Michael's ambitions of hopefully winning a green jersey one day."

Bannan conceded that for all their growing strength, Matthews would be a loss.

"No question, he'll be missed, but at the same time we have other areas that are being developed," Bannan said.

"We're looking forward to a pretty exciting next couple of years."

Bannan said Matthews would be a green jersey contender over the next few years.

"For Michael, it's a really good career move," he added.

Matthews impressed last September at the world road championships when he finished runner-up in the road race.

But he and Gerrans disagreed after the race about the team's tactics.

That inevitably has meant speculation during this season about how well Matthews and Gerrans have ridden together in races.

"At the races I attended, where Michael and Simon (raced), they both rode to instructions and acted in a very professional manner," Bannan said.

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