André Greipel and Matt Goss are both aiming for their own goals in the coming weeks of the Tour de France. After suffering a loss to Mark Cavendish (Sky), both sprinters are now plotting their return.
Greipel's Lotto-Belisol took charge yesterday on the run-in to Tournai, Belgium, with Cavendish's Sky team taking the back seat and thinking about the overall classification. The Belgian team made Greipel proud.
"The team did a really awesome job. It was really hard to stay in front with wide roads and the head wind. We wanted to have the win, but it didn't work out," Greipel explained to a group of journalists while he warmed down.
"Of course it's disappointing, but Cav is not a slow rider. It was slightly uphill and the guys went really fast, that's how we wanted to do it and we did it. Okay, one rider was faster today, but it was close. We just stick to our plan... We just have to try our best and we just have to keep on going like this."
Greipel won his first Tour stage last year. His goal is to push again for one or two stages in this year's race. His next chance will be tomorrow, when the race travels to Rouen.
Goss of team Orica-GreenEdge is aiming for his first stage win, but is also keeping the green jersey in mind. He plans to take advantage of harder finishes like today and intermediate sprints to gain points.
In the last two days, he sprinted ahead of the group for intermediate points. Yesterday in Soignies at kilometre 153, he gained a handy 13 points.
"If we want to have a serious crack at the green jersey we can't just let points disappear. I feel confident, I feel good, we picked up some points in the intermediate sprints," Goss said.
"I'm happy with the first [sprint] stage, happy with the way the team is working and we can definitely try and move up a couple of steps over the next sprint days... This is the first time that me, Baden [Cooke], Daryl [Impey] and Brett [Lancaster] have all worked together. It's a great start. We can definitely keep moving forward. We have the right tools to get a win."
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) leads the green jersey classification. Goss trails in fourth by 26 points.
The Australian said the category four climb to Boulogne-Sur-Mer today might suit him. Either way, he and Germany's Greipel proved to be Cavendish's toughest competitors for the sprints.
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Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour 2012: Who will win?
Tour de France 2012 provisional start list
Tour de France 2012 team list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs
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CW's Tour de France podcasts
Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs
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Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
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Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2012: Team presentation
Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce
Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage
Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2012: TV schedule
ITV4 live schedule
British Eurosport live schedule
Tour de France 2012: Related links
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Brief history of the Tour de France
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever
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