Matt Goss Manages Fifth in Rainy Tirreno-Adriatico Field Sprint

Sat 9 Mar 2013

It was another cold, rainy day in Italy for the third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. Although yesterday’s stage winner reported feeling less than his best, Matt Goss managed fifth place in a wet, scrappy field sprint in Narni Scala.

“Gossy said he didn’t feel great in our team meeting this morning and wanted to give the boys free rein to do as they wanted,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “I told them ‘Look, part of what we’re doing here is working to get the job done and done right.’ I said we should ride as if Gossy was up the sprint. Told him maybe he’d feel better at the finish. The boys did a great job looking after him.”

The early action was once again dominated by a three rider escape group. Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Francesco Failli (Vini Fantini – Selle Italia) quickly built up a huge advantage. Both Benedetti and Bravo were represented in yesterday’s break as well.

“The race today was similar to yesterday,” noted Stephens. “The weather was mostly the same. The terrain was similar. The racing followed a similar pattern. It was even colder today than yesterday if you can believe it, and between the weather conditions and the route, it was some bleak, hard racing.”

Omega Pharma-QuickStep assumed control of the chase and pegged the break back to a manageable advantage by the mid-point of the stage. The catch came at the 21 kilometre mark.

Hard but steady racing quickly gave way to chaos as crashes, attacks and heavy rainfall combined forces to create a frenzied finish.

“There weren’t many crashes, but the ones that happened were pretty spectacular,” noted Stephens. “Once again, in large part thanks to our tire sponsor Continental, we weren’t bothered too much by the weather. We have the best tires in the world in the rain. Our equipment combined with a bit of luck helped us avoid those late race crashes.”

Coming into the final circuit, Stuart O’Grady took his position on the front of the bunch. The rest of the time lined up fairly close behind their road captain.

“There was a bit of confusion in a corner five kilometres from the finish,” noted Stephens. “Gossy got caught up with Cav [Mark Cavendish] (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), and they were squeezed out the wrong way in a corner. They had to do bit of a u-turn and surge their way back up to the front of the bunch.”

Knowing that Goss still wasn’t feeling his best, ORICA-GreenEDGE  led out their sprinter. Goss opened his sprint early. Four riders came around him before the line. Peter Sagan (CAN) took the win ahead of Cavendish and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol). Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) finished just off the podium, one spot ahead of Goss.

“The boys did things right in the lead out,” said Stephens. “Gossy wasn’t feeling 100 percent, and he still managed to finish in the top five. We pulled off the win yesterday, and we gave it our best shot today.”

Note: The GreenEDGE family extends its deepest condolences to the Algeri family

“We learned this morning that the father of our Sport Director Vittorio Algeri passed away during the night. Vittorio is a very special person to this team, and we all send our best wishes to his family. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”  - Neil Stephens