Goss finishes second in Tour stage
Australian Matt Goss edged closer to a stage win on a day when the Tour de France suffered fallout from Lance Armstrong’s doping accusations.
German sprint ace Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) won his second-straight stage on Thursday in Saint-Quentin, overhauling Goss after the Orica-GreenEDGE rider hit out early.
It meant after the prologue and the five stages, the new Australian team have managed every placing from second to sixth as they chase their first Tour win.
Green jersey leader Peter Sagan was caught in a crash with less than 3km to go in the 196.5km flat stage from Rouen.
That meant Goss was able to dramatically reduce Sagan’s lead in the points classification after also finishing ahead of him at the intermediate sprint.
Sagan scored no points at the finish and after starting the day with a lead of 55, he is on 155 and Goss is on 137.
Goss intentionally started his sprint early to catch Greipel off guard, but he had nothing at the finish as the German tore past.
“Daryl (Impey) and the team did a perfect job, they delivered me in front 250m (from the finish) after nearly a kilometre uphill, it was pretty tough,” Goss said.
“I paid the price, I couldn’t keep the power down for the last 50m and the guys sitting on had the bit nicer run.”
It was a typical sprint stage, with a break going clear for most of the route.
But breakaway members Belgian Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis) and Spaniard Pablo Urtusan (Euskaltel-Euskadi) launched solo attacks late in the stage and they were only caught with half a kilometre left.
Before the stage started, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported that four American riders in the Tour, including Cadel Evans’ key lieutenant George Hincapie, had testified against Armstrong in a doping case.
The US Anti-Doping Agency has filed charges against the record seven-time Tour de France winner and they say they have testimony from 10 of Armstrong’s former team-mates and team associates.
Hincapie (BMC), Garmin-Sharp pair Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Valde and Omega Pharma’s Levi Leipheimer are the four riders the paper alleged confessed to doping and testified against Armstrong.
Rumours had been rife about the quartet since they mysteriously made themselves unavailable for the American Olympic road team.
The report alleged Garmin-Sharp boss Jonathan Vaughters, another former Armstrong team-mate, has also given evidence.
It is alleged the four riders received six-month penalties that will not start until later this year, something Garmin-Sharp team denied.
Hincapie and Vaughters did not confirm or deny they had given evidence against Armstrong.
There were no changes to the overall standings, with Swiss Fabian Cancellara leading and Evans seventh at 17 seconds.© AAP 2013
The Roar is giving you the chance to win 1 of 19 prize packs to Australian Open 2014! Each lucky winner will receive four evening tickets to Rod Laver Arena, plus access to 3 hours in the Heineken VIP Bar. Enter here.