It’s almost a Tour de France tradition for the pre-race talk to not be centred around the upcoming edition, but instead, around the drama taking place off the bikes.
Matthew Goss is a potential Green Jersey winner for the Tour de France. But can he win it?
The Green Jersey is an award for most end stage or intermediate points gained during a tour. Generally most points go to winning a stage and therefore its often called the Sprint Jersey.
It has been won by Australians Robbie McEwen three times and Baden Cooke once. Stuart O’Grady has achieved second place four times.
Cadel Evans recently won the points Jersey at the Criterium Dauphine because of his places, but he still came third.
What is Matthew’s chance? Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) is the undisputed fast man of cycling. At 27 he has already won 20 stages of the Tour de France, not going to mention his wins in other competitions.
In straight-up sprint so far this year Matt Goss has only bested Cavendish once, in the third stage of the Giro. That was with what Director Sportiff Matt White stated was an ideal lead out by Orica-GreenEDGE (and of course Mark Cavendish hit the asphalt before the end).
So, you would be thinking that Goss’s chances are slim, but there are many reasons why Matt Goss has got a good chance for at least some sprint wins. Cavendish and to some extent Team Sky(GB) would be desperate to win the Road Race at the London Olympics.
I’m sure that Cavendish if he only won one race this year, and it was the Olympic Road race, would declare 2012 a beautiful year (anno auriolus…pun intended). I feel he will definitely withdraw no later than stage 15 in the Tour de France which is sprint finish into Pau. This would allow Team Sky to concentrate all its efforts to support Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) who has shown outstanding form so far this year.
This could then lead to the opportunity for the United Kingdom to win the Tour de France and the Olympic Road race for the first time all in one year and on home soil.
This is where an excellent opportunity presents itself for Orica-GreenEDGE and Matthew Goss. At the moment Matthew Goss is about to Start the Tour of Slovenia. With him will be South African powerhouse Daryl Impey. It was his lead-out that lead to Goss’s stage win in this year Giro d’Italia.
So, if the proviso for discussion is based on Mark Cavendish’s withdrawal from the Tour de France and subsequent all out execution by Team Sky for going for General Classification, what would be Orica-Green EDGE ‘s next step to support Goss winning the points Jersey?
Team options could be an all out strong team of domestiques to support Stage wins by Goss or a mixed team of domestique and sprint finishers like Cooke, Davis and potential stage winners like Gerrans and Albasini.
I think Orica-GreenEDGE will need to go in with a team out for stage wins. The points jersey would be a bonus.
Orica-GreenEDGE has the depth so that anyone given the opportunity can sneak stage wins. This is also applicable to Mark Renshaw at Rabobank. And of course Adam Hansen of Lotto Belisol will remind me that he can go way beyond lactate threshold to get his team mate Andre Griepel up for an opportunity for stage win, or even a green jersey.
Matthew Goss has a great opportunity but so does Peter Sagan (Liquigas), Andre Grepiel (Lotto-Belisol) and Mark Renshaw (Rabobank). Also, lets not forget Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who is another challenger for the title.
What do you think, Roarers? Who is your pick?