The Aussie’s rule their first ever Milan-San Remo in 102 years

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William Lozito

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  • The Aussie’s rule their first ever Milan-San Remo in 102 years

The Aussie’s rule their first ever Milan-San Remo in 102 years

The Australian sensation, Matthew Goss of the HTC-HighRoad team entered the Milano-San Remo race on their new Venge bike, designed mutually by Specialized S-Works and McLaren engineers. And the debutant bike, which took over a year to design, did not diminish any expectations, taking the talented pro rider to victory in a total time of 6 hours 51 minutes 10 seconds.

With the victory on Saturday, 19 March 2011, Goss has become the first Australian rider to win Italy’s biggest one-day race event, the Milano-San Remo classic. Goss was given a tough challenge by the strong “Team Leopard-Trek” rider Fabian Cancellara as well as by Philippe Gilbert of the Team Omega Pharama-Lotto. But finally he came on top with a brilliant sprint to the finish line.

“I could not have dreamed of a better race today,” said Goss after the race victory. “To be on the top step, ahead of Cancellara and Gilbert is amazing.”

Milan-San Remo is considered as one of the five prestigious “Monuments” of cycling and is the longest of the race calendar too. The 102nd edition of the thrilling contest involved a dramatic crash mid-way through the race due to the slippery descent, which favored Goss and 44 other riders to clang to a two-minute lead.

The HTC-Highroad rider Mark Cavendish was among the favorites along with Oscar Freire and Thor Hushovd. But luckily Goss out-powered all, with the three favorites caught behind in the second group.

“I really didn’t expect to win,” Goss said. “I just did what I needed to do. I managed to stay in front, and even though I was without teammates, I managed myself well.”

The 24-year-old Tasmanian sprinter put all of his strength down the line on the final climb of the Poggio, which was then followed by a superb sprint finish to the 298-km race event.

Michele Scarponi of the Lampre team bid for home-soil victory and was the first to hit the top gear early in the final two kilometer sprint; but his mistimed effort was easily overhauled by Gilbert and Cancellara. Goss, being the only real sprinter among the front line riders, came conveniently on top timing the powered move to perfection shooting inside the final 200 meters.

He crossed the finish-line of the season’s first and the longest “classic” event with his arms wide open in the joy of victory. Ahead of one of the race favorites Swiss Fabian Cancellara at second and the Belgian Philippe Gilbert claiming the third place at the podium.

“I was here to win, the team rode really well and I tried to finish that off, but I didn’t succeed,” said Cancellara. “I even tried to go alone but everyone was on my wheel. In the end I had one of the best sprints of my life, but Goss was unbeatable.”

Alessandro Ballan, Filippo Pozzato and Michele Scarponi finished 4th, 5th and 6th down the line respectively.