Date: July 06 2012
Australian sprinter Matt Goss has stormed into green jersey contention following a second-place finish behind Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) on stage five of the Tour de France. It was the German sprinter's second stage victory in as many days but crucially for Goss, the points earned on the intermediate and final sprint leaves him trailing green jersey leader, Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), by 18 points.
STAGE FIVE RESULTS | STAGE SIX ROUTE
However, the Tasmanian and his Australian team, Orica-GreenEDGE, are still seeking an elusive stage win, a feat that Goss's lead-out rider, Daryl Impey of South Africa, says is achievable despite the limited opportunities remaining.
When Goss returned to the team bus on Thursday, the angst for having come so close to his breakthrough Tour stage win was as clear as his exhaustion. One of the riders who got him into the strike zone so well was Impey who, as his last lead-our rider, shared his frustration. But he was quick to turn it around and pinpoint the opportunities that still exist in the days to come.
While Friday's stage six is a another flat one that should suit Goss, Impey reminded that it was not only Goss's shoulders that hopes of victory are placed.
"You always think of the stages that suit you ... especially this one that was slightly uphill," Impey said after the stage which saw Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) retain the overall race leader's yellow jersey with a 7 second lead on British Tour contender Bradley Wiggins (Sky) with defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) in seventh place a further 10 seconds behind..
"There are more opportunities. Friday is another sprint day and there are other guys to win. We are not just a sprinters' team. We still have Peter Weening, Michael Albasini and Simon Gerrans for the mountains. I think one of those days there is going to be breakaway going and any of those guys could be in it," said Impey.
The South African said Orica-GreenEDGE's sprint train was also hampered by being one man down with Baden Cooke suffering derailleur trouble near the sprint.
"In the final bend there was chaos. We lost each other. I had to wait for Gossy and he had to go with a very long sprint," Impey said. "I was going max with 800m out. I am sure Gossy was on the limit as well. Unfortunately we lost Cookie who was quite vital to the lead out - so we were a man short."
Goss was absolutely drained from his effort. He said the uphill sprint "was one of the hardest sprints I have done ever. There was a really long drag uphill, and a big crash beforehand that made an impact on the race. We spent most of the last kilometres trying to catch the [three rider] break because they had that jump on us for the last 10 kilometres. With 700m to go I didnt think we were going to catch them and I was a little way back."
Goss praised Impey, saying: "Daryl rode himself into the ground. I dont think he could have ridden any harder. He was probably about to tip over sideways if I had of let him stay at the front any longer.
"I thought I was going to be close with 100m to go, and I just started running out of legs. I could see Greipel coming from a couple of wheels back."
As for his green jersey ambitions, Goss said, referring to Sagan's crash: "I dont want to gain in a competition because someone has crashed.
"But if I got to Paris and was second and sat up because I didnt think it was possible and he pulled out, you would never live it down."
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