On stage two of the Tour de France the battle for the maillot jaune took a back seat, allowing for the sprinters competing for the maillot vert to bask in the lime light.
For Orica-GreenEdge and their sprinter Matthew Goss it was a missed opportunity to claim an inaugural stage win. While the Australian was left trailing by his former teammates Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel he demonstrated his intentions for the green jersey, picking up 13 points at the intermediate sprint before finishing third on the line.
"We've got to make sure we're close to Sagan," said team director Matt White when previewing the next few sprints.
"If he wins tomorrow and Gossy isn't in the top three then he's going to have a massive lead. The green jersey is a big focus us, not the only one, but a big one for sure.
"We're looking for Goss to win tomorrow's stage," White continued. "I expect a very aggressive last hour of racing. It's going to be very hectic. It's 700 meters up to the finish but the guys get a really good run at it. They're going to be hitting the bottom of it at 65kph so they'll get halfway up the hill before they have to really go for it. Sagan is definitely they favourite though."
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) currently leads the competition with Cavendish 15 points adrift and Goss a further 11 points behind in fourth. While the Liquigas rider remains in green after today's first bunch sprint, he showed his inexperience in Tournai, losing the wheels in the final few hundred meters, and providing his opposition with certain confidence.
However Robbie McEwen, who was brought into the Orica management earlier this year reinforced that consistency would be key in the battle for green and that the Orica team were still looking to improve.
"Our boys did a good effort but it was a good win for Cavendish after a bit of criticism and a bit of doubt about his sprinting ability having lost a bit of weight but he's shown he's still the number one at the moment.
"Concentrating on Orica-GreenEdge I though the boys did a great job," continued McEwen. "They tried to get to the front a couple of times and got shut down but still managed to get Gossy into a good position and spiriting for the win. His confidence has got to be good. He's won the two intermediate sprints so far and taken third place, he's looking to go better than that."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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