NEWS: Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) won the opening stage of the 2017 Tour of the Basque Country in Spain, and earned the early race lead after taking the bunch sprint.

The 26-year-old Matthews, in his first race for Team Sunweb at the UCI World Tour event, finished ahead of his compatriots after 153 kilometres of racing in the Basque Country in a time of three hours, 45 minutes and seven seconds.

Matthews topped an all-Australian one-two-three to take his first victory of the season, finishing ahead of compatriots Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott). Britain’s Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) finished ninth.

Matthews passion for cycling took him to this stage and he was very elated to be back in the Basque Country.

Alex Aranburu, Yoann Bagot and Igor Anton formed the main breakaway of the day just moments after the race kicked off in Pamplona.

The trio opened up a four minute-advantage within the first 20km of racing before the peloton picked up the pace.

They were caught 19km from the line, with the order of teams at the front changing constantly.

Gerrans led the bunch into the final corner, however McCarthy pulled in front rounding the bend.

But Matthews powered past on the finishing straight and triumphed with a comfortable margin, nabbing his first win of the season.

Matthews tops all-Australian podium in Pais Vasco opener

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Source: ABC Online and SBS

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