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Last year's third place getter Matthew Goss will carry HTC-Columbia's hopes of back-to-back wins
Lead-out man looking for Greipel win
Matt Goss proved to be a top sprinter in the making once again with his second placing on the Giro d’Italia’s second stage in Utrecht, The Netherlands, even though that wasn’t the HTC-Columbia rider’s plan. Sprint favourite Andre Greipel lost the wheel of his Australian lead-out man in the chaotic finale, leaving Goss runner-up to America’s Tyler Farrar.
“That wasn’t the plan,” Goss admitted. “I was there to help Andre win, but a couple of guys shut him off my wheel as we came around the last corner. It’s a good result for me but we’re aiming for the win.”
HTC-Columbia’s famed train didn’t occupy the head of the bunch in the last 10 kilometres of the stage this time. A sharp corner 300 metres before the finishing line didn’t favour the powerful style of HTC-Columbia.
“We were together with 15 kilometres to go,” Goss said. “But there were a lot of crashes and we had to turn left-right and so on. It was tricky. Three of us were there until 400 metres to go.”
While only 23-years-old, Goss is likely to become one of the world’s best sprinters, showed by his Paris-Brussels victory at the end of 2009. As he transferred from Saxo Bank to HTC-Columbia, Goss was given a chance to do well at the classics, where he finished 16th in Gent-Wevelgem and earned an assignment as a lead out man. While compatriot Mark Renshaw will look after British rider Mark Cavendish in California next week, Goss is in charge of delivering Germany’s Greipel to the line at the Giro.
“We started working together in that sense at the Santos Tour Down Under and it went well,” said the Monaco-based Goss. He led the German to four stage wins and the overall classification of the opening ProTour race in January.
“We have another chance tomorrow,” Goss concluded.
While the stage didn’t unfold according to plan HTC-Columbia’s directeur sportif Valerio Piva wasn’t completely unhappy with the outcome. “To finish second and fourth isn’t what we want,” said Piva. “But it was a dangerous finale where everyone wanted to be at the front and it’ll be the same again tomorrow. It’s inevitable that things don’t work exactly how we want. We’ve missed something, but I can’t say I’m unpleased.”