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Mark Cavendish wins the sprint ahead of Goss and Soupe
Orica GreenEdge confident of going one better
The top two places on the podium on Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia was a repeat of the result from the 2011 World Championships, with Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) finishing second to Mark Cavendish (Sky) but the Australian walked away encouraged.
Sunday's result followed Goss' four second placings at the Presidential Tour of Turkey which concluded last week. Goss is still chasing his maiden individual victory of the season.
"I'm happy with the result," said Goss in a team statement. "This is the first time our train rode together. We haven't all been at the same race yet this year. It's a good start, and I definitely see areas where we can improve. When we consider second as our starting place, it gives me confidence that we will get a win in the next week or two."
Brett Lancaster did another stellar job for the team, following his effort to finish in 7th place on Stage 1. Lancaster was extremely active over the final 50km of the race at the head of the bunch along with Team Sky.
"It was a fairly easy stage," said Sports Director Matt White. "People raced quite cautiously. The coast was windy, and a lot of climbers here are scared of losing time ahead of the mountains."
"While the racing may have been easy, it was a high stress day," added Goss. "The first road stage of any Grand Tour always is. It makes for a nervous bunch, and it can sometimes be difficult for a team to stay together."
Lancaster was joined by Tomas Vaitkus and Daryl Impey within the final 10km with Jens Keukeleire making his way back to the bunch after a minor crash.
The sprint trains came to fore and began to line things up for their sprinters. Sky Procycling, Garmin-Barracuda, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Farnese Vini – Selle Italia and Saxo Bank could all be seen jostling for position. Orica-GreenEdge sat patiently behind the tussle until the one kilometer mark.
"Obviously, the target was to have Gossy be one of the first riders through the final corner," explained White. "We accomplished that objective. He was in good position in fifth or sixth wheel."
Goss made it through the corner a split-second ahead of a crash that took down a handful of riders and split the peloton.
"The crash was no surprise," said Goss. "We went through the final corner fast. None of our guys were involved. I hope everyone that was is okay."
The crash left the fastest finishers to duke it out alone.
"I ended up on the front too early," explained Goss. "Thor jumped first, and I went across to him. I found myself ahead of the other guys and felt Cav closing in on me. We dragged race for about 100 metres before he pulled away."
"It's no disgrace to finish second to the fastest guy in the world," added White. "We have a few more stages to knock him of his pedestal yet."
Lancaster remains the highest-placed Orica GreenEdge rider on GC, in 7th, 23seconds behind the maglia rosa of Taylor Phinney (BMC).