Goss wins Milan-San Remo

Australian bests 8-man group for biggest-ever win

Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) took victory in a thrilling edition of Milan-San Remo with an emphatic sprint finish on the Lungomare Italo Calvino. The 24-year-old Australian had time to savour his win over Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) as he proved by far the quickest of the elite eight-man group that formed over the top of the Poggio.

While Goss’ rapid kick to the line will understandably grab the headlines, his stunning victory owed as much to his sangfroid in a frantic finale as it did to his pure speed in the finishing straight. As attack followed attack all the way from the summit of the Poggio down to the finish line in San Remo, Goss held his nerve and allowed the pre-race favourites to wear one another out in the streets of the Ligurian town.

“I really didn’t expect to win,” an emotional Goss said afterwards. “I just did what I needed to do. I managed to stay in front and even though I was without teammates, I managed myself well.”

An incident 2km from the line offered a perfect microcosm of Goss’ intelligent race: as Philippe Gilbert put in the fierce acceleration that marked his final throw of the dice for La Classicissima victory, it was Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) who led the chase, with Goss tucked comfortably on his wheel.

Indeed, time and again in the dramatic final 20km of racing, Goss found himself in the right place at the right time, an oasis of calm in the chaos that surrounded him, as he quietly covered the moves without expending the kind of energy that might blunt his finishing sprint.

“In the finale, I looked to hold onto the wheels on the Poggio, because I knew it would be the decisive moment,” Goss said.

The sprint itself was chaotic, and lacking in organisation, with just eight riders left in contention after a white-knuckle descent of the Poggio, but again Goss was able to pick his way through the disarray. He marked Gilbert in the finishing straight, and when the Omega Pharma-Lotto man dived to follow Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), Goss simply ghosted off his right hand shoulder.

The only real competition came from Fabian Cancellara on the other side of the road, but Goss had enough sparkle in his legs to hold off the fast-finishing Swiss and take a surprising but richly-merited victory.

“I was here to win, the team rode really well and I tried to finish that off, but I didn’t succeed,” Cancellara said. “I even tried to go alone but everyone was on my wheel. In the end I did one of the best sprints of my life, but Goss was unbeatable.”

Van Avermaet’s brave bid

As ever, there was drama aplenty on the capi that punctuate the run-in to San Remo, but unlike in recent years, it was more than a mere sideshow to the inevitable sprint finish. With the peloton already split by a crash before the climb of Le Manie 90km from the line, and with sprint favourites of the calibre of Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo), Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) chasing behind, the non-sprinters in front knew that they would never have a better chance of upsetting the odds.

The BMC and Omega Pharma-Lotto teams drove the 44-man leading group as it hit the Capo Mele with 52km to go, as they sought to hammer home their two-minute advantage over the Hushovd-Freire group behind. While those two squads were pulling in support of Alessandro Ballan and Philippe Gilbert, they were all too aware of the presence of fast men Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo), Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) in the group, and the secondary objective was to force the pace on the climbs in a bid to dislodge them.

Boonen betrayed obvious signs of suffering on the Capo Berta, while Petacchi was clearly not hopeful of victory – his own Lampre-ISD team were leading the chase behind in support of Michele Scarponi.

Thanks to that impetus, the gap was down to one minute on the penultimate climb of the Cipressa, and it was here that Scarponi struck, streaking clear of the chase group in a bold bid to bridge to the leaders. Remarkably, the Italian would do just that, catching hold of the coattails of the front group after the descent of the Cipressa, and then play a forceful role in the combustible finale.

Meanwhile, on the Cipressa, Alessandro Ballan had put in his first tentative dig, which saw Yoann Offredo (FDJ) and Gilbert respond. Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack) was next to try his luck, and he led over the Cipressa before being caught at the top of the descent.

Indeed, it was on the way down that the real damage was done, and the most dangerous move of the closing stages took shape. The FDJ tandem of Steve Chainel and Offredo surged clear in what was surely a premeditated attack, and they brought Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and the wily Stuart O’Grady (Leopard Trek) with them.

The quartet worked seamlessly together, quickly opening a 30-second lead. Chainel was burying himself in the service of the stylish Offredo, while the favourites hesitated behind and ultimately the chase fell to Omega Pharma-Lotto, with André Greipel sacrificing himself for Gilbert.

Those efforts would ultimately play against Gilbert’s chances. “When those four went clear, everybody expected our team to do the work, and that cost us dearly,” he said at the finish.

At the foot of the Poggio, 10km from home, the gap was still stable, but the break’s unity was fractured on the climb. Van Avermaet forced his way clear of the break two kilometres from the top, cleverly attacking as Offredo was caught on O’Grady’s wheel, while Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) opened the hostilities behind.

The Sicilian launched two accelerations: on the first one, he had Gilbert and Ballan for company, but the second time around, he simply cruised clear and made it across to Offredo and O’Grady, dragging them towards the summit. Up ahead, Van Avermaet was still holding tough, and had a 12-second lead at the top, but further down the climb, the remnants of the 44-man split were scattered all over the Poggio, with Haussler, Petacchi and Boonen all bidding farewell to their dreams of victory.

Gilbert, Cancellara, Goss, Pozzato, Ballan and Scarponi managed to bridge to Nibali and Offredo over the top of the Poggio, while Van Avermaet continued to plough a lone furrow in the lead. The plucky Belgian looked to have a winning margin as he began the descent, but then Cancellara simply took matters into his own hands.

The Swiss rider made mincemeat of Van Avermaet’s advantage and dragged the chasers back into contention, with the race coming back together by the time the road flattened out in the streets of San Remo. Even at this point, Offredo, Gilbert and Nibali refused to give up the ghost as they attacked in turn, but ultimately their efforts served only to lead out the sprint, where the canny Goss had too much in reserve for a clearly disappointed Cancellara.

Early drama on Le Manie

Long before the tense closing 20km, there was an emotional beginning to Milan-San Remo. Japanese champion Takashi Miyazawa (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) was the centre of attention at the sign on in the shadow of the imposing Castello Sforzesco, as the peloton paid their respects to the victims of the recent earthquake in Japan. Shortly afterwards, once the bunch had rolled out of Milan in pleasant spring conditions, Miyazawa was off the front looking to pay a tribute of his own.

He attacked 12km into the race with the classy Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Alessandro De Marchi (Androni Giocattoli) and Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) for company. Once they went clear, the peloton settled down to a steady pace behind, as the race took on its natural rhythm, ticking off the familiar towns on the well-worn road through Lombardy, Piedmont and Liguria to San Remo.

By Voghera (60km), they had a lead of 12:30, which then stabilised around the ten-minute mark for the next hour or so, as the quartet left the northern Italian plain behind and headed for the rugged terrain near the coast.

After tackling the Passo Turchino, La Primavera’s first major test, the gap between the peloton and the break began to tumble accordingly. By the time they reached Le Manie, with 90km to race, their lead was under two minutes and the break would fragment on the slopes of the climb, as Ignatiev and De Marchi forged clear.

However, the real drama was to come behind. A crash in the peloton just before the start of Le Manie saw world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) take a tumble and get caught behind. The touch paper was lit as news of the Norwegian’s misfortune spread through the bunch, and when Oscar Freire (Rabobank) came a cropper on the subsequent descent, the pace rocketed still higher at the head of the peloton.

Omega Pharma-Lotto and BMC grabbed a hold of the race and dragged an elite 44-man group clear off the descent of Le Manie, while there was chaos behind as the bunch split into four separate groups. In the confused moments that followed while Hushovd, Freire, Farrar and Mark Cavendish sought to organise themselves and the chase behind, the lead group managed to stretch out a two-minute lead and the dynamic of the race was altered completely.

A number of pre-race favourites were all but eliminated from contention here, but their absence from the front end in the finale did nothing to detract from what was a gripping race. But ironically, while Gilbert, Nibali and company happily combined to rid themselves of the sprinters over the next 90km, their efforts would ultimately set up the race to perfection for one of the fastest men in the bunch.

Like so many others, Matthew Goss has lived in the shadow of his leader Mark Cavendish’s sprint dominance in recent times, but after this fine victory on the Riviera, the Australian has heralded his own definitive arrival at sprinting’s top table.

Full Results
1Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad6:51:10 
2Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek  
3Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
4Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
5Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha Team  
6Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
7Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ  
8Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:03 
9Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:10 
10Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek0:00:12 
11Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:27 
12Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
13Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek  
14Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team  
15Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
16Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ  
17Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale  
18Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
19Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
20Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team  
21Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard  
22George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team  
23Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack  
24Francesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
25Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard Trek0:00:32 
26Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:33 
27Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team0:01:06 
28Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:01:12 
29Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
30Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling0:01:44 
31Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ0:01:47 
32Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:01:55 
33André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:03:59 
34Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
35Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:05:14 
36Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team RadioShack0:05:23 
37Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
38Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team  
39Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
40Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ  
41Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
42Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
43Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard Trek  
44Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling  
45Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar Team  
46Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
47Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad  
48Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
49Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Team RadioShack  
50Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
51Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team  
52Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad  
53Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard  
54Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre - ISD  
55Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
56Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD  
57Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
58Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
59Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad  
60Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling  
61Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
62Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
63Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
64Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing Team  
65Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
66Simon Clarke (Aus) Pro Team Astana  
67Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
68David Gutierrez Gutierrez (Spa) Geox-TMC  
69Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
70Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard  
71Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
72Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
73Anders Lund (Den) Leopard Trek  
74Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar Team  
75Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
76Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling  
77Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
78Gianni Meersman (Bel) FDJ  
79Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Spa) Geox-TMC  
80Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ  
81Adam Hansen (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
82Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
83Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling  
84Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team  
85Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
86Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling  
87Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni Giocattoli  
88Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team  
89Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
90Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana  
91Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana  
92Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
93Simone Stortoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
94Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team  
95Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
96Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack  
97Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
98Robert Wagner (Ger) Leopard Trek  
99Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
100Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:05:30 
101Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
102Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling0:06:10 
103Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team  
104Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
105Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
106Luca Barla (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
107Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team0:08:29 
108Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:09:32 
109Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Highroad  
110Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
111Grégory Rast (Swi) Team RadioShack  
112Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
113Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad  
114Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana  
115Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
116Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
117William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ  
118Biel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
119Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
120Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
121Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
122Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team  
123Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
124Leif Hoste (Bel) Katusha Team  
125Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
126Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Procycling  
127Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
128Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard  
129Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:09:38 
130Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:15:51 
131Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
132Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
133Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
134Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
135Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team  
136Kevin Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
137Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
138Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:18:25 
139Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
140Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
141Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana  
142Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank Sungard  
143Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
144Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
145Daniele Ratto (Ita) Geox-TMC  
146Allan Davis (Aus) Pro Team Astana  
147Roger Hammond (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
148Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
149Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek  
150Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
151Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
152Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
153Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
154Michael Morkov (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
155Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
156Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFPaolo Ciavatta (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFRuggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFClaudio Corioni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFSimone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFFabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFMartin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFGiairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFLuca Solari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFAntonio Santoro (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFAndrea Pasqualon (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFGianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox  
DNFTristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
DNFJon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFOscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFLeonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFAndrea Noe (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFDavide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFDiego Caccia (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli  
DNFMatthias Brandle (Aut) Geox-TMC  
DNFDavid Blanco Rodriguez (Spa) Geox-TMC  
DNFFabio Felline (Ita) Geox-TMC  
DNFMarko Kump (Slo) Geox-TMC  
DNFMatteo Pelucchi (Ita) Geox-TMC  
DNFBert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad  
DNFPeter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad  
DNFMikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha Team  
DNFAliaksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Katusha Team  
DNFVladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha Team  
DNFFrancesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFKristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFVasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team  
DNFSebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNFMaxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFMarco Bandiera (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFDavid Tanner (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard  
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
DNFRobert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShack  
DNFManuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Team RadioShack  
DNFSébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack  

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