Date: May 16 2012
Assisi, Italy: Australian Matt Goss is battered and bruised, but definitely not down and out when it comes to strength and attitude as the countdown for his last chances to win a second stage in this year's Giro d'Italia begins - starting with Wednesday's 255km 11th stage from Assisi to Montecatini Terme.
Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) and his teammates are primed once more to try and get the Tasmanian across the line first.
The stage has one third category climb midway and a fourth category ascent with 12km to go, but it could still end in a sprint.
And when it comes to climbing, Goss, who will again start in the red jersey as leader of the points competition, is one of the best among the sprinters.
After Tuesday's 186km 10th stage from Civitavecchia to the ancient hilltop town of Assisi where Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) won the day's honours and took the overall race leader's pink jersey from Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), Goss confirmed that he had backed up reasonably well after his crash in Monday's ninth stage.
Heading into stage 11, Rodriguez leads the Giro overall by 17 seconds from Hesjedal, while Italian Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) is third at 32 seconds.
Goss crossed the finish line at the end of a steep uphill climb into the centre of Assist in 173rd place at 7 minutes 49 seconds to Rodriguez. Later, he told Fairfax: "I'm not too bad. Just my hip at the end of the stage ... at the end of the stage I started to feel a few little niggles in places, but considering I hit the deck at 45km/h and didn't really slide much - I kind of just landed on my hip - I don't feel too bad. I feel pretty good considering.
"[Wednesday] is going to be a long day. It's going to be quite a lot harder version of [Monday's ninth stage]. So hopefully if I feel okay, I can still be up the front end and try and make up for a mixed opportunity [on Monday]. I take each day as it comes. I can sit and rue about [Monday] and think what it could have been. But if you do that about every race you are not going to have much time to train or get ready for the next race. Stage  is a good opportunity. I feel quite fit, there are just little things from the crash. But I think there will be things hurting more - like my legs - by the end of the stage."
In the aftermath of Monday's crash that took down Goss, British world champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) and Argentinian J.J Haedo (Saxo Bank) from the bunch sprint finish, Italian Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), who rode into Goss, withdrew from the Giro citing a broken bone in his hand.
Meanwhile, the win by Rodriguez on stage 10 may have been forecasted by many because of the Spaniard's strong climbing and reputed punch.
But that he still won as he did impressed those who steadfastly believed that his stage victory on the steep, narrow streets of Assisi was a fait accompli.
It was on the steep last kilometre into the town that Rodriguez escaped from a group that included Hesjedal and went on to win the stage by lengths.
"It was a great course for me ... I knew we could go," Rodriguez said. "When you get a finish like this you just have to take every advantage you can. I'm very happy to have the pink jersey. We decided to put the whole team to work for it. It's going well ... not just me, the whole team is working well."
Hesjedal had ridden as well as he could have, and looked like defending the race leader's pink jersey up until the final moment Rodriguez attack.
The Canadian began the stage with a 9 second lead on Rodriguez, but that could not fend the Spaniard out of the first position. While he was only beaten by Rodriguez by 6 seconds, the 20 second time bonus for winning the stage saw the Spaniard move into first overall with a 17 second lead.
Rupert Guinness is covering the Giro d'Italia courtesy of Eurosport. All stages will be covered live by Eurosport. Wednesday's stage 11 live coverage on Eurosport (Foxtel Ch 511) starts at 10.45pm (AEST) Check programs.
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