- Matt Goss
March 04, 2013, 22:25 GMT,
March 04, 2013, 22:26 GMT
Decision time is just around the corner
I'm counting down to my next race which means it's time for another blog. Tirreno - Adriatico is always a good gauge of your form, especially before the Classics and I'm really looking forward to it.
I haven't checked out the stages too much yet. I've had a good period through Oman and training here afterwards. I went to Lugano and unfortunately it was snowed out there so we didn't get to race but looking at Tirreno, it's always good racing. There are a lot of GC guys going this year so it could be quite a hard race.
This will be the second year in a row that I've done Tirreno over Paris - Nice and while the latter is a great race, I think there's a bit more uncertainty in the weather there. Hopefully Tirreno is kind to us and a bit nicer but it also makes life between that and Milan - San Remo a bit easier. If you race Paris-Nice, you finish on the Sunday and then you've got a week so you have to find a couple of days to do some really good rides and this time of year, the weather can be a bit average. In 2011 before I won San Remo I ended up going out training for four, four-and-a-half hours in the rain which isn't ideal - I got sick just after I won. With Tirreno you race, recover and then race on the weekend so it's a better gap. The other factor that works in Tirreno's favour, at least from where I'm standing, is that the stages are a bit more technical, so it gets you ready for what's coming in Belgium.
So yes, Milan - San Remo is once again a race I'll be targeting. I can usually have a good result there. Even last year I had two courses of anti-biotics in the week before it and I still got to the finish. Unfortunately it split on the descent, or fortunately for my teammate Simon Gerrans, and I wasn't racing for the win but I still finishing in the top 15. When things going well I can be around the mark there but when things work out perfectly or really well, then Milan - San Remo is a race I can win.
Last year at Tirreno, Orica GreenEdge won the team time trial in pretty impressive fashion and we're definitely motivated for the same result this time around. We're going to be heading down there a with a strong team a couple of days early for some training and to make sure we're all working well together. Tirreno is a big goal for me; it was great for me to have the leader's jersey there for a few days last year and for the team to get our first win in Europe. Sure, it won't be our first win in Europe this year but we're just as motivated to try and kick off the season in the right way.
After Milan - San Remo I'll be heading to Belgium and do Gent - Wevelgem the next weekend. At the moment I'm still down for Flanders and Roubaix but I'll need to assess those as we get a little bit closer. The Giro is a big goal of mine and Flanders is now quite difficult with the changes to the course. If I don't think I can be in the front group there going for the finish I think it's better off putting someone else in who can help somebody like Sebastian Langeveld. Roubaix is a race that I'd like to do, even if I can't win it this year, it's a race you want to get experience in. When the time comes, and I hope it will one day, I want that experience in the bunch at the finish.
- Matt Goss
January 21, 2013, 23:15 GMT,
January 21, 2013, 23:22 GMT
Focussed on stage wins at Tour Down Under
We’ve had a good week of training here but I’m a little bit over of the room at the Hilton where we all stay. It’s time to race.
I didn’t expect to be any good at the Sun Tour where I kicked off my season a few weeks ago. I was kind of just riding it to make a transition back to summer in Australia. That was a brutal one. After that, at Nationals, I knew I wasn’t going to be at 100 percent because the Sun Tour had been so hot. I couldn’t get the intensity that I would have liked but I still felt comfortable and I was pretty happy with the way it went. I was more focussed on coming to the Tour Down Under.
All that preparation seems to have worked pretty well. I put a lot of work in through December in Monaco. It was gym, training, massage every day for a month. I’d never done a lot of gym before. It was a bit different and I will keep at it throughout the season so hopefully it will help the sprint a little bit.
It was great to start off last night with a podium at the People’s Choice Classic. We didn’t win but it’s really the first sprint I’ve done since the Tour and the Olympics last season. It gives us a bit of confidence heading into the rest of the week.
I think the race overall has probably got a little bit too hard for me now having come second in 2011. If it was the same as last year – maybe. But for me, if I’m going well up Willunga I never used to get dropped up there. With the stage finish up the top, I lose maybe 15-20 seconds. So with the race the way it was, I could get that time back in sprint bonuses. Now I don’t think so. We’ve got Willunga, six laps around Stirling and we’ve got the Corkscrew 7km from the finish in Rostrevor on Wednesday. Last year the race could have gone either way but this year, it won’t be a sprinter who wins the race.
For me this year’s race is about having a crack at a few stages and trying to help Gerro as much as possible. If I can get around Willunga the first time I can definitely help him a long way up there the second time. Same with Corkscrew, it’s at the end of the race and very important. It’s a split role. I’ll definitely take my opportunities.
The first stage on Tuesday is one for me. It’s not really dead flat, it’s a little bit of an uphill sprint. It’s quite lumpy on the finishing circuit – it’s definitely not easy so that suits my style of racing. Hopefully it hurts the other guys’ legs who are still doing their first races! Suffering through the Sun Tour and the Nationals should start to pay some dividends. Getting a win would take a lot a lot of pressure off the team, myself and everyone and make the race a little bit smoother. There’s always pressure racing here in Australia but as always, there’s more pressure from yourself. If it doesn’t happen, there will be other opportunities and we’ve got a lot of other strong riders.
Daryl Impey and Jens Mouris are here to help me in the sprints, it’s also about learning to race together consistently so we get to the big races we’ve got the confidence in each other as well as the experience.
I was on my own when it came to the finish during Sunday night’s criterium but I wasn’t expecting much. It’s difficult because it’s a tight circuit, with a lot of corners, a lot of nervous bike riders and it’s the first race of the season. I think you’ll see us come together over the next week.
This is my first race with Jens since Oman in 2012. He’s so powerful. He’s incredibly strong and he fits in well with Impey and Lancaster – the other guys I’ve been working with. A lot of the time the lead-out isn’t about having one fast guy sitting in front of you. It’s about having a really strong train that can go for one or two kilometres. With Jens he’s a huge addition to that for us if it works out the way we’re hoping. Hopefully he’ll be a good link in trying to change a lot of those seconds and thirds that I had last year into wins.
Julian Dean retired last week; he was supposed to be a key part of my lead-out last year. I would have really liked to have had the opportunity to race more with him but at the same time, maybe I wouldn’t have discovered how valuable Daryl’s been. Daryl’s somebody now who I should be racing with for a fair few years. It may have been somewhat of a blessing in disguise – we know how good he is. He’s at the finish of every bike race I’ve ever been on the finish of and he’s usually bloody strong.
- Matt Goss
Follow Orica GreenEdge sprinter Matt Goss as he tackles the Tour Down Under through to the Classics in 2013. The 26-year-old heads into his second year with the Australian WorldTour team with a renewed, focussed approach to the year ahead after a season which netted a Giro d’Italia stage win and 11 minor placings.