#Ride2Unite Livestream with Michael ‘Bling’ Matthews: “I Sort of Enjoyed the Stress Being Away”

By Frantiska Blazkova

The #Ride2Unite livestream series was born out of our desire to uplift, entertain and connect the cycling community and we’ll continue to do so even now when it seems the worst could be behind us. No matter if you consider yourself a cycling aficionado, a commuter or happy to just observe and learn about all things cycling, sit back and enjoy the highlights of our fourth livestream with Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb!

Michael Matthews is one of the most prominent rising talents in Australian cycling under 30. He’s won a stage of the Tour each year since 2013 and several points jersey, thanks to being a renowned sprinter and puncheur. His colourful career leaves a great room for conversation and our livestream host, Laura Meseguer, a professional Eurosport reporter and sports journalist couldn’t be happier about it. Despite initial technical hitches with Michael wife’s smartphone coming to the rescue, they went through the joy of riding outside again, Zwift training during the lockdown, maintaining passion of the sport, family, goals, having the privilege of attending grand races and more.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown was and still is the talk of the town, Michael responded to the classic “how are you” question with stating how refreshing is to be riding outside again but, at the same time, how it has been an interesting experience and something he might have needed to appreciate things you normally have. “I tried to enjoy hit for what it was, had a lot of family time. […] It wasn’t something we could choose to have but I was trying to see the positives.” He and his team mostly kept fit, physically and mentally, through home trainers and virtual Zwift rides, and also through checking on each other via Zoom. He admitted that this new situation kind of dissolved his “tunnel vision” on cycling and he had time to find new hobbies and activities.

Despite the fact that the pandemic has put the 2020 cycling season entirely on hold and acknowledging its horrible circumstances, Michael took a candid stance since he’s been a pro for over 10 years: “This time of the season was so stressful normally, with the cycling season on. I sort of enjoyed the stress being away, to be honest, and it’s given me time to really recharge and figure out what I want to achieve in my life, in cycling and everything around it.”

Laura was naturally curious if it’s possible to stop enjoying competition for a professional cyclist if they’ve been in the sport long enough, to lose your passion for this undeniably tough sport, as she’s seen quite a number of cases before. Matthew summed it up with: “You sort of get into the routine of going to races and you sort of take it a bit for granted, what you actually have, […] riding all these amazing races you watched as a kid. It was a dream to do it. And I think this period gave us that perspective that it shouldn’t be just given, it should be a pleasure to go and do these amazing races and be a part of history.” According to Michael, that was his biggest personal takeout from the lockdown.

One question from the audience queried Michael about his life goal as a cyclist. “I think that everyone’s goal as a professional cyclist is probably to be a world champion. I guess that feeling when I became champion in Under-23 […] to become a world champion in Australia was probably one of the biggest dreams come true. Then to win the green jersey after that and now, hopefully, I can fight for the world championship again, I think that would put the icing on the top of the cake of my career.”

For the fourth #Ride2Unite livestream in its intriguing entirety, visit our We Love Cycling Instagram. Plus, you can look forward to another one, this time with Jenny Rissveds, next Wednesday on 17th June!