HTC-Highroad’s Matt Goss continued his stunning early-season form with victory on stage one of the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia.
The 24-year-old Australian, who stormed to victory in Sunday’s 51km Cancer Council Classic, outsprinted Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Andre Greipel and Radioshack’s Robbie McEwen after 138km to clock three hours, 17 minutes and eights seconds.
Simon Clarke (Astana), Mitch Docker (UniSA), Mathieu Perget (AG2R) and Euskaltel-Euskadi duo Miguel Minguez and Jon Izaguirre broke away from the peloton on the day’s first categorised climb.
But, with HTC-Highroad, Team Sky and Omega Pharma-Lotto controlling the chasing pack, the quintet were destined to fail before the fast men were left to face-off and leadout man Mark Renshaw delivered Goss to the line.
Greipel claimed overall victory in Australia while riding for HTC-Columbia in 2010 and now Goss has set his sights on emulating the German.
“I would love to win the race overall but there is a long way to go,” said Goss. “It is an ideal start but there are a lot of days left of racing. I am in a good position now but it isn’t just me in the team.
“It is one thing to win, but when you are expected to win, you put a lot more pressure on yourself. I am really happy to get the win for me and the team. They rode all day – it’s for the guys.”
Old team-mates Mark Cavendish and Greipel, forever sprinting foes at HTC-Columbia, were expected to go head-to-head Down Under.
However HTC-Highroad team manager Alain Peiper confirmed on Sunday that his team will focus their efforts on Goss in a bid to capitalise on his lightning-fast start to the season.
But Goss insists Cavendish, who has won 15 stages of the Tour de Frances, still has his sights set on a stage win this week.
“Cav is still one of the fastest guys here,” he added. “I am sure we will see him, if not in the next couple of days, before the end of the race.”
Tour Down Under Stage One – Top 10
1 Matt Goss – HTC-Highroad – 03:17:08
2 Andre Greipel – Omega Pharma-Lotto – same time
3 Robbie McEwen – RadioShack – st
4 Chris Sutton – Team Sky – st
5 Elia Viviani – Liquigas-Cannondale – st
6 Romain Feillu – Vacansoleil-DCM – st
7 Alessandro Ballan – BMC – st
8 Inaki Isasi – Euskaltel-Euskadi – st
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas – Movistar – st
10 Greg Henderson – Team Sky – st