Matt Goss (HTC-Columbia) is on the hunt for a victory at the TD Bank International Cycling Championships held Philadelphia on Sunday.
The Australian sprinter is well-known for his role as the last lead-out man for André Greipel, however, this weekend he will take the reins with full support from his teammates should the 250 km American classic come down to a bunch kick. He is a proven contender in Philadelphia having placed second in 2007.
"I have high expectations for Philly this year," Goss told Cyclingnews. "I'm feeling pretty good. We have a pretty good team here and some of us are just coming from the Giro, although I didn't finish, I think I have good shape for here and for a circuit like Philly. It is certainly a race that I always want to do well in and I want to win it one day."
Goss arrived stateside fresh off of winning stage nine at this year's Giro d' Italia. He is hoping that his top-notch form will get himself over the famed Manayunk Wall ascent ten times, through the three final short circuits and on to the finishing lap around Logan Square in good position to sprint for the win.
"That was my first Grand Tour stage win and I'm pretty happy about that, I guess it means my form is not too bad," Goss said. "I haven't raced since the Giro. I had to recover and now I feel good after doing some good training last week."
"I think all these guys are very quick and since we are all coming from the Giro we know what to do," he added. "I think we have a pretty experienced team and if it comes down to a sprint I hope we can do something in the finish. But, we have some good riders who will want to take their chances and be in the front at all times."
Goss was grateful for the opportunity to be the lead sprinter. His season is normally spent organizing the lead-out train for his teammate Greipel who won last year's race in Philadelphia but will sit out the event this year.
"I probably don't get as many chances as some other teams because we have two of the best sprinters in the world in [Mark] Cavendish and Greipel," Goss said. "I get some opportunities, it just doesn't happen all the time. I think it is also nice that if you are going well you get the opportunity to be the guy that's looked after."
The course is best known for its wild crowds on the climb up the steep Manayunk Ave, commonly known as ‘The Wall'. The short 800-metre leg breaker lined with enthusiastic fans takes its toll lap after lap.
"I really like this event, it's one of the ones I look forward to all year," Goss said. "It has a really good atmosphere, the whole town and the race going up the wall, it's just a good feeling and has always been a nice race. I really enjoy it."
This year's race will host approximately 150 riders and has become a popular event for Australians, who are competing on teams Fly V Australia, UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis, Bahati Foundation, Amore & Vita and Footon-Servetto.
"It's a good race for me too because I know a lot of the riders who come over here to race," Goss said. "It's good to catch up with them. I know a lot of the Australians quite well, especially from the Fly V team and some of the guys on the other teams. I know and train with them back in Australia."