Matt Goss Sprints to Second on Paris-Nice Stage ThreeTue 11 Mar 2014
Matt Goss delivered the first stage podium for ORICA-GreenEDGE at Paris-Nice, sprinting to second on the Magny-Course Formula One circuit. After running second on the opening two stages, John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won stage three ahead of Goss and JJ Rojas (Movistar). The bonus seconds that accompanied Degenkolb’s stage victory moved the German into the yellow leader’s jersey following three days of racing.
“We had started the day with a similar plan to the one we had yesterday,” said Sport Director Dave McPartland. “We were working for Gossy instead of Bling [Michael Matthews], but other than that, things looked exactly the same. We weren’t interested in the break or the chase. We put all our energy into the sprint.”
A trio of French riders dominated the early action. Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Romain Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) and Julien Fouchard (Cofidis) broke clear from the bunch. They were never allowed to extend their lead beyond the three minute mark as FDJ.fr set a steady tempo at the front of the field.
“Our boys were pretty much on it the whole time today,” said McPartland. “They moved up when it was time and kept themselves out of trouble. They knew what to expect, and things unfolded to plan. It was much better for us today than during the last two stages.”
“Although things settled down a little bit, it was still a very scrappy last ten kilometres,” said McPartland. “Giant Shimano had the most control, but the rest of the other teams didn’t really have full lead-outs. They had maybe two or three or four riders there, but they were missing the rest. There weren’t many proper trains, so there was a high level of stress.”
Inside the final ten kilometres, the leaders’ advantage had shrunk to just under a minute. Quenmeneur accelerated away from his break-mates and doggedly pushed on toward the finish as the peloton overtook Fouchard and Feillu. The last man standing from the early escape entered the Magny-Cours Formula One auto circuit with a 30” advantage over the field and 4.5 kilometres left to race.
Simon Gerrans and Mat Hayman kept the pace high and the lead-out train well-positioned at the front as the peloton overtook Quemeneur at the two kilometre mark. Giant Shimano led the field during the final kilometre, leaving Degenkolb to unleash his sprint. Goss ran out of road in an attempt to respond to the gap Degenkolb’s acceleration immediately created.
“Gossy is a pure sprinter, so he’s never happy with any result that’s not a win,” said McPartland. “Having said that, his morale is quite good at the moment. He knows he’s proven that the form is there. We knew it was, and now he’s confirmed it. He’s had as much bad luck as anyone, so it’s definitely a good thing that he finally got a chance to sprint – even better that he ran second. We’re getting closer to that stage win.”