Goss looking forward to new challenges at MTN-Qhubeka

Australian not concerned by team's Pro-Continental status

Matt Goss is an absent figure at the road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain this week as he prepares to re-boot his career with the South African MTN-Qhubeka team.

It was not a surprise that Goss was not selected for Worlds by the Australian federation - his lack of results this year led to his not being renewed with Orica-GreenEdge team.

However, the 27-year-old Tasmanian, whose last individual WorldTour win was stage two of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico, still longs to go one place closer than he did at the 2011 world championships in Copenhagen when he placed second behind British flyer Mark Cavendish.

"There are a couple of good options over the years of circuits suited for sprinters or my type of rider. Hopefully I can get back right back up there in the pointy end of a world championship," said Goss who will ride for MTN-Qhubeka from next year.

Time may have flown for Goss since 2011 when he also became Australia's first Milan-San Remo winner, but he is excited about his time to come at MTN-Quebeka.

"I don't want to finish my career … not yet. When I do, I want to make sure I have had good seasons beforehand. I don't want to go out on a not so good note," he told Cyclingnews.

Pro-Continental versus WorldTour

Goss believes opportunities for a rider on a Pro- Continental team like MTN-Quebeka can be as great as on a WorldTour team like Orica-GreenEdge.

While Pro-Continental teams rely on wild card entries to the biggest races, Goss is confident MTN-Quebeka will get those starts. He refers to the team's progress so far that includes German Gerald Ciolek's win in last year's Milan-San Remo and their grand tour debut this year at the Vuelta a Espana where they finished with all nine riders.

He also cites the team's other big signings: Dutchman Theo Bos, Norwegian Edvald Boasson-Hagen and American Tyler Farrar, and recently Belgian Serge Pauwels.

"I'm fairly confident with the riders and results, we'll get the starts we want," he said.

Goss will learn the team's race "wish list' when it meets in Cape Town in November, but says, "I'd like another go at Milan-San Remo and Gent-Wevelgem, to do better than last year in the early season, then a few days in the grand tours we might do."

Goss hopes to start his season in Australia, but as the team is unlikely to get a wild card to the Tour Down Under, the national championship might be his only home race.

"The nationals are a good option," he said. "I'll probably race there, but the Bay Crits [Jayco Bay Cycling Classic series] … usually is better preparation for Down Under.

"If we are not doing Tour Down Under it may be something I have to look at changing."

The three amigos?

Goss is clear that Bos should be MTN-Quebeka's key sprinter, saying, "Bos will do the majority of the bunch sprints. I am happy for him to take on that side of things."

However, Goss is confident there will be no clash between him, Boasson-Hagen and Farrar who have similar traits and are once-touted stars in the making who need wins.

"I don't think there are any real egos in the team, no 'prima donna' stuff," Goss said.

"I look forward to helping Edvald in the Tour of Flanders and races better suited to him. It's also nice to have options and guys who are working for each other. I would rather have a situation where we have a couple of guys who could potentially win the race, working with each other well rather than be at the end of a big race by myself.

"We're going to have a team with quite a lot of depth when it comes to the big races."

Accidental bunch sprinter

Goss says he was not "boxed in" to the role as Orica-GreenEdge's main sprinter. "I really wanted to give it a crack. I saw it as a good opportunity to try and get a stage in the Tour or the green jersey. It wasn't a boxed in thing. It was a mutual decision.

"In hindsight, was it the best thing to do? To finish five times in the top three [incl. second twice] in the Tour in 2012 … With the goal for the green jersey [lost when he was relegated on stage 12 finish and deducted 30 points], maybe it would have been better to not focus on that but to choose a couple of days and really try to get those wins.

"[On stage 5] Greipel came over the top in the last 20 or 25 metres. We'd been doing the intermediate sprints. You can sit and think, 'That could have been a win in 2012."

Goss says other leaders also emerged after Orica-GreenEdge's 2012 debut, such as lead-out rider South African Daryl Impey, a yellow jersey wearer in the 2013 Tour.

"Everything was changing in the team and it is still evolving now," he said.

The final fling at OGE

The result sheets show Goss did not finish his last race for Orica-GreenEdge. But his DNF in the last stage of the Tour of Alberta last month can be deceiving.

Goss enjoyed helping Impey win the Canadian race overall, and so soon after Impey's return to racing after being cleared to when a positive test for probenecid at the South African championships on February 6 was ruled to be due to a pharmacist's error.

"It was a city circuit race. We had everything pinned on Daryl to win. I did my bit to help in more of a support role. In the last stage I got dropped on the second last lap up the climb. It was pouring rain, freezing … I wasn't alone, there were quite a few.

"I was happy to see Daryl come back with a win and to repay him a little – he has helped me out at my years at Orica-GreenEdge. It was nice to finish on that note."

Rupert Guinness is a sports writer on The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media)

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