Thirsty work for Goss

Thirsty Goss

The image is from yesterday’s Paris-Nice. With 1.7km to go, the HTC-Highroad sprint train is trying to set the pace and race leader Thomas de Gendt interrupts things with an impulsive late attack. In less than 90 seconds’ time Sky’s Greg Henderson will win the stage. But look closely and HTC-Highroad’s Matt Goss is having a drink.

I don’t know about you but when I get near the finish, it’s too late to drink and besides adrenalin and tension take over, the last thing I’m thinking about is a sip of water, especially if someone’s trying to barge me off a wheel. It’s a tiny but remarkable moment of calm by Goss. By contrast the last time I remember seeing a bottle in a sprint finish… was in 1997 when Tom Steels threw one at Fréd Moncassin.

Good on ya, Greg
Greg Henderson won a stage of Paris-Nice last year on the opening Monday. He repeated this with the win yesterday in Amilly, taking the sprint finish with a powerful display. His background on the track seemed evident as he sprinted for the line, you could see him holding a straight line on the bike, his back relatively stable as he kept clear of rivals in the last 250 metres. “Hendy” has offered to auction off his green jersey to help victims of the recent Christchurch earthquake in his homeland of New Zealand, a nice gesture.

15 thoughts on “Thirsty work for Goss”

  1. some riders use a small flask type bottle, with anything from a mix of raw peppermint essence (opens up the lungs/airways) or whatever their particular ‘thing’ is, but chugging from the bottle so close to the finish (usually prior to chucking it) is rare. In fact, i dont recall seeing it like that for a while, if at all.

    Goss yesterday, did not seem to be in the ‘swing’ HTC went to the front late, and not their usual last few km ‘lets wind it up’ efficiency – (De Gendt jumped to disrupt) and it worked.
    Thomas then blew them away with a burst of speed, which took Henderson clear & watching Goss in the finale, after his train was finished, didnt know which way to go, between the barriers, or to the right. either way, on that showing, he was lacking.

    Swig when your winning….

  2. Furthermore Alex Rasmussen of HTC, second behind Tony Martin on the above pic, tells danish media that the “attack” from De Gendt caused him to break the lead out train of HTC, fearing the peloton would overtake them in the hunt for De Gendt. He was supposed to be the last lead out man for Goss, but instead Martin ended up in that position.
    Alex is new in the team and in the lead out train, and should learn to trust their plan instead of poundering of after De Gendt, but it seems as if he is aware of that by now – and respect to that!

    And that 1997 finish is epic – those were the days of crazy sprinting – thanks for the reminder;)

  3. Alex Rasmussen is probably one of the strongest guys will ever see in terms of max watt output – but unfortunately he seems to be build on LOTS OF POWER – NO BRAINS. However, training with him when he was a lazy and spoiled junior rider with at summer fatpercentage of + 15% and me running out of time in my late thirties, I hate to admite that he is the type of rider that will one day win Paris-Roubaix on a lucky contra attack on the favourits 25 k from the finish line – just powering away with his brilliant technique. Read my lips! It is a strong horse.

  4. Flashing Pedals: the “magic flask” trick hasn’t been seen for a while. Sugar and peppermint are common, but some have used less healthy things in the past. As for HTC, I think their sprint train’s in Italy, the guys in P-N are the GC squad, Goss excepted.

    TboreRK & El Gato de La Cala: thanks, I’ll watch out for Rasmussen.

    12 speed: I missed it first time too, De Gendt’s move was an obvious distraction. Maybe Goss just wanted to unload the bottle and if De Gendt could attack then the train wasn’t at full speed, even if it was almost there.

  5. I watched the highlights last night and I was surprised there was no mention of Henderson changing his line. He started his sprint then veered at least a bike width or two towards the barriers which caused Goss to slow down and switch to the other side and then start his sprint again. Cav was penalised for exactly that in the TDF against Thor when he was judged to have veered from his line.

  6. Maybe a sip to calm the nerves and wet the mouth?

    And I agree with the Alex Rasmussen comment. That guy is bound to win something big down the line, through pure brute force.

  7. others little stange moments in yesterday finish:
    -astana’s vaitkus working in front with near 5 kms to go just for sprinting himself
    – romain feillu on the finish line breaking on the barriers, another funny sprint like the one in openlegs at the worlds or the zigzag Isaw this year I don’t remember in which race.
    On the subject I’m noting that there are teams that work a lot in front in the last kms without any succec in the finish line, something like the skies did in the last tour de france when you could see usually renshaw-cav jumping from their wheels and get the victory, have we saw a revenge?

  8. Neil – Henderson didn’t really change his line – I’d file that under ordinary drift.

    I think Goss lost due to Geraint Thomas’s move to bring Henderson to the front – he put Goss into the wind and Goss had to fight with Galimzyanov for Henderson’s wheel, eating some wind, and then had to sprint twice – first, an ill-advised attempt up the barriers as Henderson gently closed that door, and then up Henderson’s right. Impressive that he still managed 2nd all things considering.

  9. I felt from the helicopter top-down view henderson moved over when he started sprinting. It reminded me of the cav incident so I watched that back on youtube and in my view they were remarkably similar. I still think it’s fine though because you’ve got to have a screw loose to try and get up the inside in a bunch sprint. It’s just asking for an Abdoujaparov style crash.

  10. the UCI rule about line deviation isn’t very specific but it does include endangerment as a key point. though henderson may have moved side-to-side, he was still a good half a lane from the barriers – and i’m not even sure if Goss was drawing even with him.

    the Cav/Thor thing… well, I thought the barriers should have been relegated.

  11. remarkable as you say. I raced (4th cat) at the weekend and spent so much time concentrating on bunch position and holding wheels that I didn’t drink enough, and by the end my calf was cramping into a solid block. makes you realise just how strong and skilled the pros are.

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