Matthews' strong Flanders form bodes well for Olympics

Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS

An Olympic medal might be rich consolation for Michael Matthews missing out on a precious podium finish at the Tour of Flanders.

The Australian's storming ride on Sunday night (AEDT) at De Ronde, one of road cycling's five monuments, ended in devastation.

The Jayco AlUla star finished third - only the fifth time an Australian has featured among the top three at the storied race.

Matthews was subsequently relegated to 11th over infractions during his sprint to the finish.

But his form over the last few weeks points to the 33-year-old being a serious contender in the August 3 Olympic road race.

The Australian also finished runner-up last month at Milan-Sanremo, another monument.

The Olympic event will suit the 'puncheurs' - riders who excel on rolling terrain - with Flanders cited as a similar course profile to that of Paris.

Matthews is the big Australian hope in the men's road race.

He has never ridden at the Olympics, and was gutted at missing out on the Tokyo team three years ago.

Matthews finished third at the 2022 world championships in Wollongong, but injury marred his season last year, with a stage win at the Giro d'Italia his one highlight.

In January, Cadel Evans pointed to Matthews and time trial star Grace Brown as the main Australian riders for the Olympic road events.

"At this point, looking at the course I'd say Michael Matthews in the men's, Grace Brown for the women's in the road race would be the first picks we'd be looking to," the Tour de France winner told the Nine Network.

"But of course, them staying healthy, being in form, avoiding injuries and so on - there's still a long way to go in that regard."