Britain superstar Mark Cavendish beats Matt Goss of Orica-GreenEDGE in the sprint to win stage two of the GIro d'Italia. Photo: AFP
HERNING, Denmark: The frustration Matt Goss felt was clear on his face before he came to a halt in front of the Orica-GreenEDGE team bus. But it was reinforced by the eight words he muttered after finishing second behind British world champion Mark Cavendish in stage two of the Giro d'Italia.
"That's frustrating ... that's five seconds in eight starts," an exasperated Goss said in between breaths after Cavendish (Sky) beat him by a bike length to win the 206km second stage out and back from Herning in Denmark
Goss had barely taken another breath before Gerry Ryan, the Melbourne businessman who owns the first Australian World Tour team and was standing nearby, calmly interjected: "It'll come ..."
Goss appreciated Ryan's reference to the first win of the season that he is still chasing. But as he wrestled with another second place to add to the four he took in the Tour of Turkey last week, the moment was still too raw.
"So will Christmas ...," Goss replied to Ryan, but with a wry smile that indicated he was ready to respond in Monday's 190km third stage in Horsens.
Later, a relaxed Goss said: "We will try and get one [finish] where we put the hand up and have the jersey in front and not just me in second position."
However, no one could begrudge Cavendish his stage win over Goss that had no impact on the overall race lead of American Taylor Phinney (BMC), 21, who managed to chase back after his chain slipped with 8km to go.
For Cavendish, who later said he wanted to win in Denmark because it was in Copenhagen where he won his won the world road title last year, his victory also saw him become the first title holder to win a Giro stage since Australian Cadel Evans (BMC) in 2010.
Others were worse off than Goss too, such the riders who crashed on the final and sharp right-hand bend with about 500m to go.
So wary was the field of the bend, that every team knew they had to have their key riders vying for the stage up near the front as they hurtled towards it. Although, that only exacerbated the desperation of the dash for the corner that left many - including Goss - sprinting to get around it without crashing.
"I didn't get beaten by a bad sprinter," Goss said cheekily and with a smile, referring to Cavendish who is a friend and was his former HTC-Highroad teammate and last year beat him for the world title last year. "But I did have to use a little too much energy coming into the last corner."
Goss explained that his sprint for the corner came after he inadvertently lost position behind his teammates on the nervous approach that saw Garmin-Barracuda come to the front of the peloton inside the last 3.5km and then Orica-GreenEDGE.
"The guys did a pretty good job all day and then zipped past me," he said. "I should have got on [to their wheel], but they came past a little quick, so I had to sprint up to the corner. That takes one or two per cent off what I needed if I am drag racing 'Cav'. I just didn't have the legs to go get it today."
Goss was still concerned about the difficulty of such a bend. "We knew what the corner was like from the time trial when we were probably doing 48-50km/h, but then I think we came through at about 65km/h and [he feared that] we were all going down on the corner," Goss said.
"I thought we were down. It was lucky that somehow we managed to stay up. I was pretty happy to make it through that last corner as fast as we did."
After negotiating the corner safely, Goss heard the crash behind him. But with the gradient rising before him he knew power would overrule tactics.
Goss was momentarily on the wheel of former Norwegian world champion Thor Hushovd (BMC), but not before long he was on Goss' left instead.
"We went across from Thor, then me and Cav took off. We were on the front with 300m to go and were like, 'We've got to start the sprint,' " he said. "It was a drag race," Goss said, but then praising his teammates. "To be up there on the stressful first road stage of a grand tour was a credit to everyone."
- Rupert Guinness is covering the Giro d'Italia courtesy of the Orica-GreenEDGE team in the first week and Eurosport in its entirety.
All stages will be covered live by Eurosport. Stage 3 live coverage on Monday starts at 10.45pm (AEST). Check programs.