HTC-Highroad demonstrated that while the two Marks - Renshaw and Cavendish - may be the squad's headline act in July, the Australian can lead out any one of the team capable of winning a sprint. And today, in the Cancer Council Helpline Classic, that man was Matt Goss.
The Tasmanian benefited from Greg Henderson's misfortune in the final corner and powered to the line ahead of Renshaw, Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale), who formed a four-man group in the final 500m due to the kiwi's crash.
Goss has been riding well recently, taking out the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic earlier this month and was pleased with the performance. "It's a great start and I'm very happy. Great for me, great for the team and a great start to the Tour Down Under," he said immediately after the win.
"We had it under control we kept the break at a reasonable distance. Our team and Omega Pharma-Lotto did a great to control the race and we were lucky to finish it of. We've got enough power (at HTC) to turn the earth off its axis."
That power consisted of riders such as Bernhard Eisel, Bert Grabsch, Danny Pate and Renshaw, whilst Mark Cavendish waited in the wings for a chance to hit out against some of the in-form fast men at the start of 2011.
And as Goss noted, André Greipel's Omega Pharma-Lotto squad did the lion's share of the work during the 51km race, taking control of proceedings and ensuring a five-man break - which became a leading trio with about 15 laps remaining - wouldn't succeed in its quest to steal the sprinters' thunder.
That escape group contained Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), talented local Luke Durbridge (UniSA-Australia), Martin Mortensen (Leopard Trek), Markel Irizar (RadioShack) and Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha), which got away during the second lap and maintained a solid advantage of 30 seconds for most of the event.
With the aforementioned loss of Mortensen and Izagirre later in the race it was time for the sprinters' teams to step up and they did, taking charge after the remnants of the break were swept up with five laps remaining. First it was Greipel's squad leading the way, then Allan Davis' Astana crew before Team Sky came to the fore en masse.
Heading into the last lap the combined strength of Team Sky flexed its muscle as the likes of Matthew Hayman, Ben Swift, Simon Gerrans, CJ Sutton and Geraint Thomas worked hard to get their man Henderson to the line in a style reminiscent of its debut appearance at the event last season. On that occasion it was a quinella, although this year's result would be vastly different given Henderson's misfortune.
"It was same scenario as last year - we wanted to wait a little longer but when the opportunity arose... You go into a race with a plan but you have to think on your feet. We made the call and we had to go - everyone did their bit but you don't always win," said Hayman afterwards.
"Hendy was behind CJ [coming into the final corner], I believe, when he went down. Maybe I went through there a bit too hot - I wanted to keep the speed because I'd already done a fairly long turn and I figured if I hit the brakes too much it was going to hurt me coming out of the corner so I wanted to hit it really hard.
Henderson avoided serious injury in the accident and will only be missing some skin off his legs when the first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under starts on Tuesday.
|1||Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad||1:05:12|
|2||Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team RadioShack||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Chris Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Davide Vigano (Ita) Leopard Trek||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Allan Davis (Aus) Astana||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Quick Step Cycling Team||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Andre Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Davide Cimolai (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:00:06|
|18||Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervélo||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||0:00:08|
|20||Mitchell Docker (Aus) UNI SA - Australia||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Katusha Team||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) UNI SA - Australia||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) UNI SA - Australia||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quick Step Cycling Team||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Manuel Cardoso (Por) Team RadioShack||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||Row 38 - Cell 2|
|40||John Murphy (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team||Row 40 - Cell 2|
|42||Julien Vermote (Bel) Quick Step Cycling Team||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Simone Ponzi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:00:13|
|44||Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard||Row 43 - Cell 2|
|45||Markel Irizar (Spa) Team RadioShack||Row 44 - Cell 2|
|46||Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team||Row 45 - Cell 2|
|47||Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team||Row 46 - Cell 2|
|48||Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto||Row 48 - Cell 2|
|50||William Clarke (Aus) Leopard Trek||Row 49 - Cell 2|
|51||Gregory Rast (Swi) Team RadioShack||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) UNI SA - Australia||Row 51 - Cell 2|
|53||Ivan Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto||Row 53 - Cell 2|
|55||Francesco Reda (Ita) Quick Step Cycling Team||Row 54 - Cell 2|
|56||Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team||0:00:20|
|57||Jos van Emden (Ne|