Matt Goss is optimistic that his forced withdrawal from the Vuelta a España this week will not put a serious dent in his challenge for honours at next month's UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, where the Australian is set to line up is one of the favourites.
Goss (HTC-Highroad) became the first rider to abandon the Vuelta after being dogged by illness since the day before the race, he told Cyclingnews upon his return to his Monaco home.
"I wasn’t really keeping anything in my body, if you know what I mean, everything was going straight through," Goss said. "I had three days of that and in the team time trial I was suffering a bit - I had hoped that if I was able to get through a few days then my body was going to start to get better. That, coupled with 45-degree heat, it didn’t take long before I started cramping and I was really super dehydrated and I couldn’t even turn the pedals anymore."
The Milan–San Remo winner confirmed that it was not the same issue that he had experienced in a few stages of the Tour de France in July, which he put down to "a couple of bad gels."
Goss had blood tests to diagnose the full extent of his stomach issues on Tuesday morning, and said he was already starting to feel better, far removed from Sunday where he came close to fainting on his way from the team bus.
"Hopefully it was just some bad food or bad Spanish water," he said.
Much has been made of Goss' chances in Copenhagen, from as early on as January when he blazed his way to overall victory at the Jayco International criterium series, finished second to Jack Bobridge at the Australian road championship and then finished runner-up on general classification to Cameron Meyer at the Tour Down Under. The roll then continued with a stage wins at the Tour of Oman and Paris-Nice in the lead up to his historic win over Fabian Cancellara at La Primavera.
There are few races on the calendar in which Goss can build form between now and the world championships, but he will attempt to get a start in either HTC-Highroad's line-up for the Tour of Britain or Paris-Brussels, should the blood test results fall in his favour. While missing the three weeks of day in, day out racing that the Vuelta would have provided is not ideal, the 24-year-old says that a good training block should keep his hopes of claiming the rainbow jersey alive:
"It [Copenhagen] is a course that suits me really well and the last thing I want to do is finish the season like I have at the Vuelta – that just gives me more motivation than I ever had before. I want to finish on a good note."
Goss has been named in Australia’s 14-man pre-selection for the road race, which will be refined to nine riders closer to the event.
Meantime, with HTC-Highroad winding down at the end of the season, Goss is yet to make an announcement regarding his future though it's believed that he'll join GreenEdge. The Tasmanian native said he'll be in a position to comment after September 1, "hopefully in the next week or 10 days."