Goss blasts home for first individual win in ten months, hoping to emulate standout 2011 season
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Friday, January 3, 2014

Goss blasts home for first individual win in ten months, hoping to emulate standout 2011 season

by VeloNation Press at 6:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Former Milan Sanremo champion reaping benefits of good early form

Matt GossHaving said that he believed an early start to the season was central to his chances of repeating his storming 2011 form, when he won Milan Sanremo plus a number of other races, Matt Goss has clocked up his first victory of 2014 today.

The Australian sprinter capitalized on a strong leadout from his fellow Orica GreenEdge riders, blasting home ahead of Caleb Ewan (Subaru NSWIS) and current team-mate Leigh Howard on stage two of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.

“It’s really great to get a win so early in the season,” said a relieved Goss, who has been feeling the pressure after a couple of quieter seasons. “We’ve got a super strong team here, the guys rode so well today that it was easy for me, I just had to step up in last 150 metres or so and finish it off.

“Yesterday I jumped across to the break, and I really struggled to recover after that effort. That kind of intensity is a shock to the system at this stage of the season. I didn’t feel bad, but I just wasn’t good enough to capitalise on my position. I’m really happy to change that today.”

Goss’ last individual win was a stage of the 2013 Tirreno Adriatico, just under ten months ago. He wasn’t in contention on Thursday, but turned things around today to end that dry spell. “Yesterday the lungs definitely got opened up but today it was not just me. I know I crossed the line first, but we had five guys there with a lap to go.

“The team was incredible and thanks to them for having the confidence in me the last couple of years and still sticking with me.

“We were a bit in two minds about whether it was going to be a breakaway or a bunch sprint and we were in every move, same as yesterday. The other guys went with the moves and my plan was to stay and hope for the sprint.

“I got the guys together with about four or five laps and said ‘alright, let’s do it fellas we will have a crack at the sprint.’”

The team tried to control things yesterday but was unable to do so; twenty-four hours later, it was more successful. Early on New Zealand’s Tom Scully (Total Rush/Hyster Racing) and sprint leader Felix English (Rapha Condor JLT) were aggressive, searching for intermediate sprint points.

However Orica GreenEdge took charge, bringing them back and also closing down other moves. The team also fired its own riders up the road, with Luke Durbridge, Leigh Howard and Michael Hepburn all aggressive.

Then, with four laps to go, the squad pulled together to control the finale and to set Goss up for his win.

He galloped in ahead of future team-mate Ewan, Howard, Brenton Jones (Procon Telematics’) and Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor JLT).

Goss’ sixth place yesterday plus his win today puts him first in the general classification, holding seventeen points to Jones’ fifteen and stage one winner Zak Dempster (Sasi)’s fourteen. English, Howard and Ewan are fourth through sixth.

Goss will fight to hold onto yellow. “It’s great to have the lead and we’ll try to keep the overall,” he pledged. “Mostly, I’m looking forward to getting out and racing in the jersey tomorrow, and I’ll do my best to hold it to the finish now. Tomorrow is a really hard day, but Durbo [Durbridge – ed.] has won on the Portarlington circuit before, so we have a few good options on that course.”

Orica GreenEdge directeur sportif Matt Wilson said that the race could go either way. “Tomorrow’s stage isn’t typically one for a bunch sprint, but it has finished that way before,” he said. “It’s very hard to control, but given the way the guys rode today, we’re confident we can control it and hold onto the jersey. Now with Gossy in such a strong position overall, and Leigh (Howard) also up there, we are in an ideal position to go for the overall win in the series.”

The biggest thing for Goss is that his dry spell is over and he is following the path he took three years ago en route to his Sanremo success.

“It’s nice to compare my win today with 2011, and I certainly hope it’s a sign of things to come,” he said. “I’m confident that my preparation has been right this year, but I’m looking forward to the next month of racing to see if things work out the way I’ve planned them, before I really start to draw any comparisons.”

Wilson knows that it’s early days yet but he is clear about the boost that the 27 year old sprinter will get. “Today’s win is fantastic for Gossy, since it was a win at the Bay Crits that started his best ever season in 2011,” he said. “We’re really happy that he’s on track with such good form at this time of year.

“Emulating his 2011 season would obviously be the ultimate for Gossy and for the team, so we’re hopeful that we’re on track for that after this win.”

The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic continues tomorrow with the toughest of the four circuits, a 1.3km loop in Portarlington. Aside from Goss in yellow, young Irishman Felix English will also be trying to defend his position after he pulled clear in the lead of the Sprint Ace classification.

Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic:

Stage two, Eastern Park, Geelong:

1, Matthew Goss (Orica GreenEdge) 12
2, Caleb Ewan (Subaru NSWIS) 10
3, Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEdge) 8
4, Brenton Jones (Procon Telematics’) 7
5, Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor JLT) 6

General Classification:

1, Matthew Goss (Orica GreenEdge) 17
2, Brenton Jones (Procon Telematics') 15
3, Zakkari Dempster (Sasi) 14
4, Felix English (Rapha Condor JLT) 13
5, Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEdge) 11
6, Caleb Ewan (Subaru Nswis) 10
7, Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor JLT) 8
8, Luke Parker (Jayco Vis) 7
9, Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEdge) 6
10, Raphael Freienstein (Charter Mason/Brennan It) 5

Sprint Ace Classification:

1, Felix English (Rapha Condor JLT) 11
2, Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEdge) 5

3, Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEdge) 4


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