The wry smile that breaks through the bearded face of Matt Goss when you refer to his lack of victories in recent years reflects a certain acceptance that it is a question he will continue to face until he gets return to the winner’s podium.
But as the Australian, a 2012 Milan-San Remo and 2011 world championship silver medallist, looks ahead to this year and his 10th season as a professional cyclist, and he says that he still has that winning spark in his heart, soul and legs.
“I have got to, otherwise it is too hard to get on the bike every day, isn’t it?” Goss (ONE Pro Cycling), 29, told Cyclingnews at the Tour de Langkawi. The race finishes Wednesday and is his second race of the year, with the Dubai Tour [Feb 3-6] being his first.
For Goss, joining the British Pro Continental ONE Pro Cycling team this year does not carry the pressure of being the marquee rider on whom expectation is to win, win and win, as he had at Orica-GreenEdge with which he was a founding member of after racing with HTC-Highroad with whom he won Milan-San Remo. But apart from a stage win in the 2012 Giro d’Italia with Orica-GreenEdge, Goss failed to match the winning expectations put on him as their highest paid rider.
The Tasmanian rider’s last individual victory was in the first week of January in 2014 when he won stage 2 of the Mitchelton Bay Classic criterium series in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. And before that his last UCI win was on March 7, 2013 and in stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico – notwithstanding, in July that same year he rode in the Orica-GreenEdge stage 4-winning team time trial in Nice at the Tour de France.
Goss left the Australian team to race with the South African MTN-Qhebeka (now Dimension Data) team in 2014 before signing with ONE Pro Cycling on a one-year deal.
But at ONE Pro Cycling, Goss’ job is not just to win. His capability as a mentor is a huge asset for the development of the team owned by former English cricketer Matt Prior.
Still, Goss wants to show his winning days are not behind.
“This is my 10th year pro. I have a lot to give to a team that is growing and wanting to learn,” Goss said. “I still think there is a race win or two in the legs.
“I have just got to take the opportunities when they come and try to make the most of them.”
For Goss, the platform to express himself at ONE Pro Cycling may not be on the WorldTour level he is accustomed to due to the English team’s second division Pro Continental status. Although, the team hopes to be elevated to the WorldTour. But Goss is happy with the race program the team has.
“The emphasis is going to be on a lot of the English races,” Goss said. “The Tour de Yorkshire and Tour of Britain are obviously big targets for the team, but we have some [other] great races.
“We have some races [in Belgium] next weekend and the weekend after … the Criterium International [in France.]”
Goss is also aware that for ONE Pro Cycling to get wildcard invitations to bigger races, the team must impress upon those organisers with performances in the races they start.
“Being a first year Pro Continental team, races want to see something of the team before they hand out these wildcard invites and we have to prove to these races that we deserve a spot to be there,” Goss said. “The race program is growing all the time and we have just got to keep working on that.”
At the Tour de Langkawi, Goss is looking more for a form “indicator” than any specific stage result. He hopes to first peak for the Tour de Yorkshire [in May].
“I really want to be hitting good form when we come back to Europe,” Goss said.
“The Tour de Yorkshire is a big goal for the team, so I would really like to be going at my best for that time of the season.”