Matt Goss Crashes in Tour de Suisse Stage Five SprintWed 18 Jun 2014
Matt Goss crashed out of contention of the stage five Tour de Suisse sprint finish. The Tasmanian toppled to the ground when he was hit from behind by another rider who was attempting to squeeze through a non-existent space near the barrier. A chain reaction ensued with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) the most notable name amongst the other fallers. Four hundred metres from the line, much of the peloton was caught up behind the riders on the ground.
“I came into the last corner fast, but I made it through okay,” said Goss. “I hadn’t lost my front wheel or anything like that. Another rider came out of the corner even faster behind him. He tried to squeeze between me and the barrier, but I was practically alongside of the barrier. There wasn’t any space for him. He hit me from behind, and I went flying.”
“My injuries aren’t too bad,” said Goss. “The knee is a little sore at the moment. It’s one of things where I’ll just have to wait and see how it feels tomorrow. The rest of the injuries are superficial – mostly lost skin.”
Following a tenth place showing by Goss on stage four, ORICA-GreenEDGE had hoped to change the plan slightly in attempt to give their sprinter a better chance at a result. The team’s focus was on the sprint, leaving the early work to the teams that showed interest in the chase yesterday.
“We sat down and looked at the footage from stage four,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “Following the review, we decided to make some adjustments. We wanted to try something a bit different. We came out today excited about our approach.”
“We did well all the way up until Gossy crashed,” said Stephens. “The goal was to keep him out of the mish-mash that generally leads into the finish. We were trying to make the run-in a bit smoother for him. The boys ticked that box.”
A three rider break dominated the early action. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step played pace-makers for race leader Tony Martin, and Katusha and Giant-Shimano did the last bit of work to shut down the move in the closing kilometres. With a technical final kilometre including two tight turns, the fight for position was even more spirited than usual.
“With the left-hand turn at 350 metres, we knew it would be dangerous,” said Stephens. “Gossy overcooked it slightly in the last corner, but he managed to stay up. Then, someone crashed into him, and that was it. Gossy did what he to do to be in the right position for the sprint. It’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t get to see if our different approach would lead to a different result, but crashes are a part of sprinting.”
“We were in a decent position in the final kilometre,” said Goss. “It was always going to be an interesting sprint. In a normal run-in, I was probably two or three spots further back than I should coming out of the corner, but it wasn’t a normal sprint. From 400 metres to 200 metres, it was slightly uphill, so I was in a good position to launch myself. Of course, it’s easy to say that when I never even got the chance.”
“Crashes are a part of sprinting,” Goss added. “I know that. It’s part of the deal. It’s unfortunate when they come at bad times, but the injuries aren’t too bad. I should be okay for the other days.”
Sacha Molodo (Lampre-Merida) won the crash-marred sprint ahead of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano). Nino Schurter sprinted in for ninth place, posting his second top ten result this week.
“Nino is a quick guy,” said Stephens. “We’ve given him the nod to do his own thing in the sprint. He lacks the synergy and experience needed in a lead-out train, so we run it as is. The boys have worked together in the past, and adding Nino into that doesn’t make a lot of sense. He’s not involved in the train, but he’s freelancing in the sprint. The result he got today was all on his own. He’s a great rider. It’s not hard to see he’s got the gas to do some good things in the sprint.”