Tour de France: Michael Matthews replaced by Christian Meier in Orica-GreenEdge line-up
Last Updated: 04/07/14 4:04pm
Orica-GreenEdge have been forced to make a late change to their Tour de France line-up after sprinter Michael Matthews was ruled out by injury.
Matthews, who would have been a contender to win the green points jersey if 100 per cent fit, suffered road rash and needed six stitches in a cut in his hand after a training crash earlier in the week.
The Australian, who wore the pink jersey for a week at this year's Giro d'Italia, is replaced by Canadian Christian Meier, who was flown in from Vancouver to join the team ahead of the pre-race presentation in Leeds on Thursday.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, it has been a little bit of a whirlwind 24 hours,” Meier said. “It not the way you want to start a Tour just because a guy is injured, but I have to say, as my first Tour I am extremely excited to start.
“It’s every bike rider's dream to do the Tour de France one day and it’s unbelievable that it is happening. My role is a support role for the stage winners, so typically for Gerro [Simon Gerrans] and those guys having a real crack.
“Later on in the race if there is an opportunity to find a breakaway in the race, you take those opportunities when you can, but mainly I will be playing a support role. Bling [Matthews] is an incredibly talented bike rider as he has shown.
“He is one of those guys who is going to have a long and prosperous career ahead of him so emotionally it is pretty difficult not to start your first Tour but during his career he will have plenty more opportunities to do more Tours and win stages.”
The team's sporting director Matt White added: "They are certainly a very different riders. Michael is a sprint orientated and Christian is not, but a super team mate. It changes our plans a little bit in aspects, but in other aspects it doesn’t. The focus will be a little bit different."