Watching the first week of the Giro d’Italia I couldn’t help but wonder about Matt Goss. More specifically, would the human powerplant ever be able to beat Mark Cavendish in a straight up, excuse-free, one-on-one sprint? Mano-a-mano.
He’s a fantastic rider, no doubt. One of Australia’s finest ever sprinters. But a little like Stuart McGill playing his cricketing career in Warnie’s shadow, he’s never quite been able to crack it consistently against the very, very best. He’s not alone, of course. I remember having exactly the same thoughts a couple of years ago at the Tour de France as Andre Greipel, one of my favourite riders, consistently came up not quite good enough against the Manx Missile who was on his way to Paris and the overall Green Jersey.
They are the bridesmaids of world cycling.
It happens at all levels of racing of course. A friend of mine who I shall name only as Geoff, has been spectacularly consistent at hitting the D-Grade podium this year. But never the top step. Week in week out Geoff’s there, finding new ways to be (just) beaten by a host of different rivals. This takes real skill. Or, is it a plan to avoid being bumped up into C-Grade by the handicapper? Somewhat ironically, his current placing in his Club’s pointscore is…2nd.
Here comes the bride…