Matt Goss Sprints onto the Podium in Santa Barbara

Thu 15 May 2014

Matt Goss rounded out the podium on stage five of the Amgen Tour of California. It was another day for a break to shine as Taylor Phinney (BMC) soloed into the coastal town of Santa Barbara for the win. Goss was second in the field sprint to Peter Sagan (Cannondale) for third on the day. Adam Yates finished safely in the reduced bunch to preserve his fifth place position on the overall classification.

It was a relatively quiet day of racing as an early break of six riders escaped the peloton shortly after leaving the start town of Pismo Beach. Team Sky patrolled the front for race leader Bradley Wiggins allowing the leading group to gain no more than a two minute advantage.

Before hitting the final climb, roughly 40 kilometres before the finish, the gap had been reduced to less than a minute. Midway up San Marcos Pass, the break had been reabsorbed and Team Sky was setting the pace up the steady highway climb.

“There was a tailwind on the climb and the descent,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We saw yesterday how hard it is to bring a group back when there is a tailwind. We knew we had to catch the break on the climb. Timing the catch to perfection would have been a big risk.”

It wasn’t until the descent that the winning move was made. Phinney, crouched into a perfect tuck and with barely a pedal stroke, quickly opened up a 25 second lead. A world class time trial specialist, Phinney promptly became a serious threat to teams with stage win ambitions. Cannondale and ORICA-GreenEDGE swiftly assembled on the front to reel in Phinney.

“Without radios there was some confusion that there was a rider off the front,” noted Wilson. “It wasn’t until about 12 kilometres to go that the guys knew there was a rider away. Even then they didn’t know it was Phinney.”

“We were totally committed to helping Cannondale catch Phinney,” said Wilson. “We weren’t playing any games. We sent two guys to the front straight away and a third later joined the chase.”

“I definitely didn’t see that one coming,” continued Wilson. “We knew if Sagan was at the finish, he would be hard to beat, but we never expected to see someone get away with 25 kilometres to go.”

Tomorrow’s stage six is likely to leave the sprinters behind as the climbers duke it out on the second mountain top finish of the tour. On the slopes to Mountain High Resort, Adam Yates is looking to reclaim his pride after what he considers his Diablo blunder.

“Adam was quite disappointed the other day and he wants to get it right,” Wilson said. “He’s our man tomorrow.”