It’s been a while since we last spoke to Englishman Matt Green at the tail-end of 2011, when he was off across the pond to ride in the ‘States, and a lot has happened to him since then – not least of which a very serious accident which kept him out of action for most of last season.
Matt’s recovered from his injuries now, is back on the bike and back in training, with a contract to race again for a fourth year with the US team Astellas Professional Cycling – plus a new blog recording how his year pans-out, right here on VeloVeritas!
Let’s catch up with Matt and hear about what’s been happening…
A question I should have asked when I last spoke to you – the legendary Big Bert Roesems; did you have much contact with him at Cinelli?
“Yes. A lot actually!
“One training ride in the Ardennes we did as a team and he spent the entire day on the front at 120rpm.
“He blew everyones doors off – for seven hours!
“I still see him at the odd Belgian race and catch up. I learnt so much from him on that team.”
2013/14/15 with Astellas, how have they been, what have the results been like?
“The results have progressed as the team grew and continues to grow.
“We are current USA criterium champions and we’re aiming to win the full NRC (national road calendar) in 2016.
“I’ve had a few serious injuries over the years but I normally crack the top 10 three to five times a year.”
Tell us about the Astellas team.
“It’s the best team I’ve ever been on.
“The management want us to race; there were 104 race days in 2015!
“Both the managers used to race so they understand our mentality.
“There is also an eye on development so the new young guys always keep us on our toes.”
What’s the hardware? Bikes? Groupsets?
“FFWD wheels, Sram Groupsets, Ritchey finishing kit, and the frames for this year are still under wraps.”
Do you ‘winter’ in the USA or UK?
“I head to the South of Spain in Mojacar, Almeria.
“Between the group we have down there the rent is 400 euros for three months. Food is cheap and the riding is perfect.”
Is the USA still ‘where it’s at’?
“What people don’t know is that there is a clear route to really make it to the big time in America.
“It’s true that you need to be on one of the Pro (Conti) teams, but there is a clear and highly achieveable pathway to big success in America.
“The latest case study example is Tao Geoghegan Hart.”
Where do you live in the USA?
“Wisconsin. Its freezing in the winter (which is why I don’t stay there during that time) but the summer is the best in America.
“It’s hot enough to ride in Jersey and Bibs but you don’t need to stop every five mins for water refills.”
How has acceptance been as a Brit in the USA?
“It’s gone over really well. I hope it stays that way!”
Is the USA scene still criterium-dominated?
“Well, there is a lot of emphasis put on the crit races, in terms of the amount of races actually on the calendar, but the road scene is gaining a lot of momentum.
“I guess a good way to analyse that would be amount of spectators at races. Crits win and why wouldn’t they?
“It’s the most ‘intimate’ form of pro road racing.”
Do you have a coach – what’s the mantra?
“Yes. Chris Bartlett from Palmares. He is an old teammate.
“Chris and palmares are one of the main reasons I’ll be in a position to be competitive next year.”
Tell us about the accident which compromised season 2015.
“I got hit by a car on June 2nd.
“I broke every bone in my left leg – twice.
“I shattered my pelvis, broke my back, arm, and collarbone.
“It’s impossible to thank everyone that helped in this answer by name, but my team and teammates, family, doctors, lawyers, coach and my physio continue to be incredible and influential in my rehab.
“I never want anyone to feel bad for me though. Only great things have happened from the moment that accident happened.
“It started with the guy who hit me; I tore my femoral artery and he saved my life.
“There are some complex emotions that go along with that which I do not fully understand yet, but I do know I’ll never hate him.”
What’s 2016 about and what’s still ‘to do’?
“Win a race.
“I haven’t won in America yet. I anticipate nothing less that a full recovery and comeback.
“I’m in full and complete training.”
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How does the programme look for this year?
“Astellas has fielded the strongest team yet.
“That’ll see – or should see – us have an invitation to one or more of the big three races (the Tours of Californa, Utah and Colorado).
“With those included that could take number of races Astellas fields a team up to 106!”
Do you miss the UK?
“Only when I’m injured. A lot of my life is in America now.”
Lastly, do you miss the Flemish frituurs?
“Ed – you and I know that to be absolutely true.
“One day we’ll share stoofvlees, mate.”
Many thanks to Matt for his time – and welcome aboard!