Even by his own admission, Matt Goss has failed to deliver his best since signing for Orica GreenEDGE at the start of 2012. Two individual wins – one at the Giro and the other at Tirreno Adriatico - were scant consolation for a rider who in the first six months of 2011 won 10 races, including Milan-San Remo.
Now, as he enters the final year of his current deal with the Australian team, he admits that he overcomplicated certain aspects of his profession and that 2014 will see a return to program that proved so successful almost three years ago.
“2013 wasn’t what I wanted and that’s for sure. There’s no beating around the bush with that, I guess,” he recently told Cyclingnews.
“2014 I’m going to try and go back to how I did things in 2011 and 2010 even. The way I’ve trained before and in what I have confidence in. It’s going back to basics a little bit.”
“It’s the same with the race programme a little bit. I’ve done Tirreno in the last two years but next year I’m going to go back to doing Paris-Nice and just trying to go back to how did things in 2010 and 2011 when I was more consistent.”
When Goss signed for Orica at the end of 2011 he was expected to lead the Australian outfit in the sprints of major races. Along with Simon Gerrans – the other linchpin of the squad – there were high expectations that the former HTC rider could deliver results on a consistent basis. However he found himself swamped in sprints with the emergence of riders such as Marcel Kittel and an improving Peter Sagan.
Team manager Matt White has already stated that Goss will take on races in a similar way as the Cannondale front man but as yet Goss has not finalised his complete program. His form – and that of the other sprinters on the team - in the early months of the year will determine whether he starts the Giro d’Italia or the Tour of California.
“I was trying to do more,” Goss said of his preparation.
“I tried to do everything better and better and I just seemed to complicate things more and more. 2012 was probably not as noticeable as I changed a few things and it was an okay year but not a great year. Then I tried to things even more and I didn’t achieve what I wanted.”
“When you don’t win it starts to build up and build up and you put more and more pressure on yourself. You’ve just got to deal with that move on. If I can go back to having confidence in doing things that I know used to work then that will help relieve the pressure.”
One aspect that does look concrete is that Goss will race less in the first half of 2014. At the Tour de France this year he lacked the acceleration to take on Kittel, Sagan and the other leading sprinters, a factor he puts down to too much racing ahead of July.
“If you look at the guys coming to the Tour now like Kittel and Greipel, they’re quite fresh. They’ve done a bit of racing but last year I did Romandie, Giro, Suisse and the Tour. I didn’t have that zip or acceleration. I was plenty strong enough but I was flat. I want to do that. That’s what I did before hand. I used to have periods of around four to six weeks where I could train but this year I’ve just tried to race more and more and that’s had a downward effect.”