We said from the start that we wanted a stage win at the Tour de France. What team doesn’t want that? ORICA-GreenEDGE had a clear plan to achieve this objective, and we came close many times. Matt Goss delivered two second place finishes and three third place finishes in bunch kicks. His final stage podium came today in Paris on the Champs Élysées as he sprinted to third behind World Champion Mark Cavendish (Sky Procycling) and points classification winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).
In our Tour de France preview, I said we were focused on the green jersey. Our two objectives – a stage win and the points competition – went hand in hand. We leave France without having met either of these tangible goals. Of the 22 teams that competed at the Tour, only eight teams won a stage. We set very high standards for ourselves and while we didn’t achieve the specific goals we set, the team, riders and staff alike, repeatedly demonstrated their commit to and effort towards achieving these objectives. I’m happy with the way most days of racing unfolded.
Looking at the sprint today, the team gave Gossy every chance to beat the fastest sprinter in the world. Unfortunately, he simply wasn’t fast enough today. Full credit to the team for their effort. They committed 100% to every plan we put together.
To beat the best in the world at this level, things need to come together as close to perfectly as possible. Otherwise, there’s too much mucking around and opportunities slip away. I’m proud of our sprint train, and I know we still have room to refine, tweak and improve.
There’s always room for improvement, and soon we’ll take a constructive look at where we can make adjustments to optimize performance next year. We’re a brand new team – the first Australian WorldTour team – and we’ve had a lot of success already this year. We have more wins than most people would have expected from us, and we’ll continue to chase victory until the end of the season.
This is a big year for Australian cycling. As an Aussie, I’m proud to have been part of this venture from the start, and I think our Australian riders would share that sentiment. There’s a huge sense of honor and pride associated with this team. It’s our team – as a nation, this team belongs to all of us. The riders on this team are some of Australian’s finest, and they’ve done their team and their country proud from day one of the season
As another Tour de France comes to a close, I marvel at what we have built here. Our main strength comes from our connection to one another. This is a very tight group. Regardless of results or whatever disappointments might have happened on any given day, the morale, dedication and focus did not waver. I have been involved with many teams in the past, and that’s something I have rarely seen. Sure, immediately after a stage we might have shown some discouragement, but the next day, we’d get on with the job. The commitment the staff and riders have to each other is incredible, and I’m lucky to be a part of it all.
Thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support from those at home and those on the road in Belgium, France and Switzerland. The outlandish costumes, creative cheers and constant encouragement reminded us that we’re part of something far bigger than ourselves.