Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Goss avoids pile up at last corner to take the win and snatch the lead from De Gent

HTC-Columbia rider Goss continued his fine form to take a win on day 3 of Paris-Nice. Avoiding a crash at the last corner, the young Tazmanian rider held firm to the last to snatch the coveted yellow jersey from the shoulders of fellow young rider De Gent with the win and a 2 second lead in the GC standings. Buoyed by successes in the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Oman, Goss showed that he is a man to watch this coming season as he beat rivals Heinrich Haussler and Denis Galimzyanov to the finish in the blazing sunshine.

172 riders began the day following the departure of France’s Romain Sicard who had retired before todays Grand Departe due to an ailing knee. With 5 riders breaking at the gun, Frenchmen Cedric Pineau (FDJ), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Romain Hardy (Bretagne Schuller) and Blel Kadri (AG2R) along with Finnish champion Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma-Lotto), it was another day for the peloton to play their game of cat and mouse with the escapees.

In spite of the mild March weather the pace was notably slower than yesterdays hammering tempo as the peloton seemed to feel more in control of the race. As the time gap fell to around a minute on the ascent of the Becoup climb (2nd cat, km 179)under the control of Vacansoliel, several attempts by Finish champion Veikkanen were reined in by the leading group. His hard work paid off as he reached the summit in the lead, snatching the polka-dot jersey with the maximum points.

As the leading group approached the 181km mark, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) surged, overtaking the escapees, much to the exception of Kadri who went on with the French champion. Holding the peloton at bay with a 20 second lead for the next 15km, the were caught with just 5km remaining.

The stage was now set up for a mass sprint, but there was nothing text book about it. With riders overlooking the winding finale and the sharp corner before the last stretch, several found themselves tasting tarmac including Peter Sagan (Liquigas) and Yoann Offredo (FDJ). Seizing the upper hand in the now disrupted sprint, Goss narrowly beat Haussler to the line to clinch the victory.

Tomorrow the peloton will tackle the demanding 191km route from Crêches-sur-Saône to Belleville which will see them ascend a series of seven climbs, including three Category 1 climbs. The fast pace will leave riders just enough time to have a quick glance at the Roche de Solutré, which comes shortly after the start at Crêches-sur-Saône. The Beaujolais vineyards will set the scene as the more impatient riders launch attacks on the roads of the Col du Fût d’Avenas. The finish line is fifty kilometres away in Belleville, a city which has smiled upon sprinters in the past: Baldato (2000), McEwen (2002), Boonen (2006) and Steegmans (2008) have all triumphed here.

1 comment :

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