Orica GreenEdge’s Matt White believes that Matthew Goss can return to his top form in 2014. The 27-year-old, one-day specialist won just two individual races during his first two seasons with Australia’s World Tour team - a stage in the Giro d'Italia in 2012, and another in Tirreno this year.
A disappointing season in 2013 coincided with the likes of Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish dominating the sprints. While Goss is not a pure sprinter, team boss White believes that his rider should be challenging Sagan.
“The plan for Goss is to hit the ground running in Australia in January,” White told Cyclingnews.
“He won’t be doing the Giro next year, his preparation will be a little different. With Goss at his best he should be going head-to-head against Peter Sagan. He’s not the pure sprinter like Cavendish, Kittel and Greipel and nine times out of ten in a flat sprint he’s going to come up short against those guys. If Goss is on top form though he should be targeting the same stages as Sagan.”
To Goss’s credit he has won races every year since turning professional in 2007 but he went through a purple patch in 2011 winning a memorable edition of Milan San Remo, as well as stages in Paris-Nice, the Tour of California, Tour of Oman and the Tour Down Under. He returned to form later that season to pick up a silver medal in the world championships in Copenhagen, narrowly missing out to his former teammate, Mark Cavendish.
However 2013 did not go to plan. “There was a combination of things. He had some bad luck with illness and injury and things just did not click. I honestly can’t explain his form at the Tour de France. When you look at our train against the likes of Lotto, Omega and Argos we came up short and that didn’t help but Goss also came up short too.”
Yet White is confident that with a new training programme Goss can win consistently again. 2014 will mark Goss’s final season in a three-year contract.
“I think he can get back to his top level. Goss isn’t going to provide you with 15 wins a year. He’s not that kind of rider. He’s a guy, who on his day, who can win big bike races and he’s proven that. He has the ability to win three or big races a year but in the last couple of years he’s had a lot of second places. Next year we expect big wins from him.”