At the Belgian one-day classic Gent-Wevelgem, sprinter Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was pursuing his first European win of the season. As if it was a bad comical movie, Goss was unfortunate twice. First the 27-year-old Australian had to jump on a much bigger bike on the steep cobbled Kemmelberg climb after being hit by Spanish sprinter Francisco Ventoso (Movistar). Then a team-mate lost his Ventolin pump which he needed against his allergies. Goss didn't finish the race.
"There was plenty of crashes and plenty of action to watch on TV I guess but it wasn't our best day. [...] There was a crash through the feed zone where Ventoso crashed right next to me," Goss said. Goss said he realised that the Spaniard hit his bike but not that he wrecked his rear derailleur.
"We hit the Kemmelberg the first lap and I put it on the small gear. He obviously hit my rear derailleur and ripped it straight off. Unfortunately it was the only part of the race where the cars don't follow. I jumped on [Michael] Hepburn's bike which is a little bit big you can say," Goss smiled about the uncomfortable position he was in.
Team cars are not allowed on the steep cobbled climb since several serious crashes marred the passage over the Kemmelberg. Goss rode the bike over the Kemmelberg and when arriving back at the foot of the Belgian climb he found the team car and a spare bike that fitted him better. Goss explained that he was way back at that point and wasted a lot of energy in chasing the pack.
TV-cameras then showed Goss in difficulties at the back of the peloton but that was caused by allergies. Luck wasn't on his side as his Ventolin pump didn't reach him. Sportif director Lorenzo Lapage explained that Simon Yates came back to the team car to pick up the pump. "Yates came to the car and asked for the pump. We gave him the pump but he let it drop. Then Goss had a panic reaction," Lapage told Cyclingnews.
"I needed my Ventolin. It's just with the warmer weather. The pollens and the allergies are a bit stronger here than they use to be at this time of the year," Goss said.
Afterwards, Goss was out of position to be in the first group of riders that steamed to Wevelgem and fought for the win. "The races seem to be decided by crashes this last week. I was out of position because I was a bit tired from coming back. That's it, day over. Hopefully the boys can move forward and have some good races in the next week. Unfortunately it wasn't my day."
Goss won a stage at the criterium series known as the Mitchelton Bay Classic, which takes place in early-January in Australia, and has come very close to his first road win of the season on two occasions this season.
He finished as runner-up behind Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) in Ballarat during the first stage of the Herald Sun Tour. Goss narrowly missed out on the win again in Paris-Nice when was beaten by John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) at the car circuit of Magny-Cours during the third stage of the French race.
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