The lure of a stint in the yellow jersey will drive Michael Matthews during the opening week of the Tour de France.
The endurance test commences on Friday in Copenhagen with a 13.2 kilometre individual time trial.
The riders will spend three days in Denmark before a travel day to return to France for the remainder of the Tour.
Matthews certainly isn't getting ahead of himself, but if all goes to plan, he could be poised to launch a bid for yellow once they return to the road on Tuesday.
Friday's time trial is followed by a tricky second stage that should be tougher than it appears on paper.
The weather forecast has many expecting carnage throughout the stage with cross winds likely to break up the peloton as they cross a crucial bridge in the lead up to a sprint finish in Sonderborg.
The race gets interesting once the riders return to France, with the competitors greeted by a hilly, cobblestone stage on Tuesday.
Wednesday and Thursday also play to Matthews' strengths and he's optimistic a stage victory could earn him a few days in the general classification leader's jersey.
"With a course like this it opens up some interesting racing the first week," Matthews said. "It's going to be very hectic, we've got the cobble stage, the winds here in Denmark, a time trial to start that suits a lot of riders.
"A lot of people will be trying to go for that yellow jersey in the first week. It's something we're interested in, to try and take it.
"I'll try do my best time trial on Friday then try and stay up there through the first week to see if we can put the jersey on for a couple of days. That's the big goal for the first week for me."
Matthews and Team BikeExchange-Jayco teammate Dylan Groenewegen will lead a two-pronged assault on stage victories for the Australian outfit.
Groenewegen will race for the win on the pure sprints while Matthews is set to focus on the trickier stages that involve undulations.
Team director Matt White acknowledges how tough it is to claim a stage at the Tour de France, however he is confident the pair can taste success throughout the three-week race.
"The goal is to win a stage," White said. "We know how hard it is to win one. We'd love to win more than one, but most teams don't win a stage at all. The goal is win at least one, we'd love to come home with a bag-full.
"Michael is in a really good place, he'll be looking for different opportunities throughout the race. His chances are a lot broader, he can target some of the stages no other sprinter can really target."
Matthews enters this year's Tour at an uncertain point in his career. The past couple of years have proved challenging and he is off-contract at the end of the year.
The Canberra product has, however, found form in recent weeks, claiming the points classification at the recent Tour de Suisse.
That result gives him plenty of confidence, however Matthews has competed in enough Tour de France's to recognise form can quickly go out the window once the racing begins.
"It's been a rollercoaster the Tour de France for me," Matthews said. "I've obviously had a fair few highs and a lot of lows.
"Every time you come here you have to come with an open mind and try your best every single stage because you never know where your luck can change. One moment you're on the bottom, the next you're on top.
"I want to start well here in Denmark and then keep the ball rolling going back to France and then getting to Paris hopefully everything goes our way and we have a bit of luck on our side."
The Tour de Suisse provided the team a close-up look at what can happen if COVID strikes the peloton. The virus ran rampant during the event, forcing the withdrawal of numerous riders.
Tight protocols are again in place for the Tour de France, with teams concerned the sheer volume of people involved in the race will make a COVID outbreak a near inevitability.
White has spent hours planning to reduce the risk of coronavirus but knows the virus could strike at any time.
"The riders and staff are doing everything we can to protect the team bubble," White said. "But it's not bullet proof, there's so many people around you in the race and the public that aren't doing the same."
Sports reporter at the Canberra Times
Sports reporter at the Canberra Times
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