New Giro d’Italia leader Michael Matthews hopes to keep the pink jersey until the end of the first week of the race and has also set his sights on a pair of stage wins.
The Orica-GreenEdge rider replaced Svein Tuft at the top of the general classification after crossing the line three seconds ahead of his Canadian team-mate on stage two’s sprint finish in Belfast.
Matthews revealed afterwards that the handover had been planned beforehand, and added that his Australian squad will now try to keep him in the jersey all the way through to stage eight, which is the Giro’s first day in the mountains.
He said: “We should be able to keep it for maybe a week. That was the goal at the start. We will definitely do everything we can to protect it.”
Matthews is keen to take stage wins while in the pink jersey and has targeted stages five and six.
Both have uphill finishes but have the potential to end in a sprint, which is ideally suited to the Australian’s style.
He has already taken two wins at last year’s Vuelta a Espana and wants to add Giro victories to his Grand Tour collection.
Matthews added: “I hope to conserve some energy for stages five or six, which are my goals for the Giro this year. They are the ones that really suit me the best. I will be focusing on them.”