Matt Goss is a typical confidence rider – most champions are. While collecting 10 wins in 2011, Gossy has only earned five wins in two years while at GreenEdge. Not good for a cyclist that needs confidence to win. Even Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen would be affected by such results. Gossy’s former team-mate Stuart O’Grady recently told Southern Spin that coming second is “sitting on the bus throwing your helmet” and for Goss there have been quite a number of second-place finishes lately.
GreenEdge team director Matt White said that while Goss had found early success at Paris-Nice, he was perhaps not in the best form to challenge the leaders at San Remo at this point, even though the new sprinter-busting 2014 route was reverted back to its Goss-friendly parcours following a route alteration after a February landslide damaged sections of the excruciating Pompeiana climb, sandwiched between Cipressa and Poggio, near the finish.
“Gossy has had a lot of close calls over the last few years and that’s frustrating for him. I don't know how many second places he's had, but it must be close to 20,” said White. “You turn half of those into victories and it makes a big difference. He's going fast at the moment. Our sprinters are all quite different and they've all got their own opportunities throughout the season."
White says that Goss' omission from the team is not an indication that he is moving down the team's sprinting pecking order, but how could it not?
Goss could also be a victim of timing. Not known for the high-wattage horsepower of his contemporaries André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), who routinely smash out 1,800 watts in the sprints. Even Cav is struggling with those two. Goss relies on his ability to survive the climbs most sprinters struggle on, however the emergence of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has also created an adversary not yet on the radar back in 2011.
But what can Gossy do to get his mojo back? Can he get his mojo back?
Burnout has been an issue. His alleged overtraining (and overthinking) the past two seasons, plus a schedule that often sees him racing the Tour of Romandie, Giro and Tour de Suisse all before lining up for the Tour de France, has left him flat without the punchy acceleration needed to truly contend against fresher rivals that already possess more natural ability.
After all, when the fastest guys in the world are showing up with a spring in their step it makes the job even harder. Now with San Remo off the docket, and team-mate – and 2012 race winner – Simon Gerrans the frontrunner, Goss – and ultimately GreenEdge – have a decision to make on whether or not he races the Tour of California or the Giro d’Italia in May in the lead-up to the Tour two months later. Gossy’s original thinking was to race California, but with the announcement of a few sprinter-friendly options at the Giro, he is strongly considering challenging the first 10 to 12 stages before pulling out to rest the legs for France.
So where is Goss now? He is a cyclist without a race this week, and in the final year of his contract if things don’t change soon he could find himself a cyclist without a team. He said before the season that he “likes pressure” as it means expectations are made because he has already accomplished something.
Goss says he "puts more pressure on himself to win than his team puts on him". Let’s just hope he finds that missing mojo soon before that last statement is the other way around.
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