Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) won the third stage of Paris-Nice with a perfect lead-out by Geraint Thomas that wiped out rival Peter Sagan. Wait a second — Thomas rides for Sky, not HTC-Highroad.
At least that was the live report explanation from Cyclingnews. Subsequent stories made no mention of Thomas taking out Sagan. Instead the reason seemed to be that Sagan’s rear tire rolled on him. He walked across the finish line.
In any case, it was a wild finish with several riders going down. In the chaos, Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) grabbed second and Mario Cipollini’s Russian student Denis Galimzyanov was third.
“It was certainly difficult, I was a little bit too far back in the last corner and was lucky to get round the crash, but once I got past them I had a straight run and it went well,” said Goss. “I was very motivated for today’s stage, I knew if I could get over the final five-kilometre climb I’d be in with a good shot, the finish was perfect for me.”
The win will have an obvious effect on Goss’ wardrobe. He’ll now be wearing the leader’s jersey that Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) sported since his victory in stage one. De Gendt drops one spot while Haussler moves into third overall, six seconds back.
Sagan will also get a new jersey because after the crash his was ripped up. Just a standard Liquigas-Cannondale one, nothing too fancy.
Goss is having a terrific Paris-Nice and a great season so far as the number two sprinter at HTC-Highroad behind Mark Cavendish. “It’s been a perfect start to the year. I can only hope it keeps going for as long as possible,” said Goss.
That will require that the Tasmanian sprinter do a bit of climbing. “Tomorrow’s a tough stage to defend the lead, but it’s not impossible,” said Goss. “There are two climbs about 50 kilometers from the finish, so hopefully I can get over them ok and at least hold it for another day.”