Michael Matthews was a non-starter this morning. After Liège, he wasn’t feeling 100%. He let us know he had a bit of a sore throat that was getting worse over the last couple of days. He woke up feeling really bad this morning, so we pulled him and put him on the next plane home. Hopefully he can recover quickly.
In terms of the race, it was pretty straightforward until the category two Col du Mollendruz that began around kilometre 120. A break of three went away at the gun, and we had no interest in going up the road. The escape stayed away most of the day, and Sky took control from the very beginning. They never allowed the advantage to extend beyond four minutes, so we never had to contribute to the chase.
We were riding for Gossy [Matt Goss] today, and our focus was on doing whatever we could to get over the Col du Mollendruz with maximum numbers – and to look after Gossy in the process. Unfortunately, we lost Durbo [Luke Durbridge] early. He crashed in the feedzone and was out the back before we hit the climb. Brett [Lancaster] was on a really bad day compared to his usual, so we lost him, too.
We come over the top of the mountain with Svein [Tuft], Alba [Michael Albasini], Wes [Wesley Sulzberger] and Trav [Travis Meyer]. The boys had run out of water at that point, so Wes dropped back to collect bottles on the descent. I was car 20, and it took me a long time to get up there.
The guys we had left did what they could to help Gossy. They tried to put him in the best position as possible. It became pretty chaotic as things wound up for the sprint. You would think sprint finish without many sprinters and lead out men would be advantageous but it’s rather dangerous that way. Gossy started his sprint from pretty far back, and he never made up much distance.
We followed the plan today, and we were beat by faster guys at the end. Hopes are always high, but sprints are funny things. It just didn’t happen for us.
The next two stages are both possibilities for us with tomorrow looking better for us than Friday. We’re ready to have another good crack at it there.