The signs are encouraging for Orica GreenEdge sprinter Matt Goss after he finished as runner-up on the Stirling stage at the Tour Down Under on Thursday.
Goss, 2011 Milan San Remo champion, is very different form at the Australian WorldTour event compared to last year, when he was struggling at the beginning of the season after sustaining a knee injury during his build-up.
Goss' second placing behind stage winner Tom Jelte-Slagter (Blanco) was confirmation that the Tasmanian's season is on track.
"This is great for the start of the season and compared with last year I'm twice the guy that I was then and it's great to get a top-three in a finish like this but tomorrow's another day and I definitely want to go one better," Goss said, admitting that he wasn't feeling "100 per cent" during the finishing circuit around Stirling.
"The boys gave me a lot of motivation in the last lap to hang in there and keep going and it was worth it," he explained. "We didn't quite get the win but still, I'm happy with the sprint. Slagter slipped away and Gilbert closed it right down but just not in time."
Orica GreenEdge waved goodbye to their general classification hopes on Wednesday with Simon Gerrans struggling with breathing difficulties and falling out of contention to defend his Tour Down Under title. The team switched its focus to stage victories and had Simon Clarke in the main breakaway of the day, while Luke Durbridge joined the late escape which formed with around 50km to go but little advantage was gained.
Friday’s fourth stage is one for the sprinters with, Goss determined to challenge the André Greipel’s Lotto Belisol juggernaut.
"I think we'll just try to control the race, probably pretty similar [to today]," he explained. "If we can slip a guy in the break again it takes the pressure off for our guys to work for a sprint and I'm feeling confident in the sprint if I get a good run at it. I definitely want to try and have another one."