BOULOGNE-SUR-MER Jul 4 2012
Given the green jersey is Peter Sagan's to lose, Australian sprinter Matt Goss will concentrate on Plan A at the Tour de France.
The No.1 goal for new Australian team Orica-GreenEDGE in their debut was always to win a stage and Goss is their main hope.
Stages five and six will be the last chance in the first section of this year's Tour for Goss and his teammates to roll out their high-speed leadout train at the finish.
Thursday's 196.5km stage from Rouen to Saint-Quentin and the 207.5km race the following day from Epernay to Metz should be standard sprint stages.
Then comes the nasty climb to La Planche des Belles Filles at the end of stage seven, the succession of climbs on the way to Porrentruy in stage eight, the pivotal stage 9 time trial and the July 10 rest day.
Slovakian Sagan, road cycling's new star, has probably put the green jersey points classification beyond the reach of his rivals by winning stages one and three.
Orica-GreenEDGE team director Matt White said he could not remember someone being this dominant in the category.
The only hope is that the 22-year-old struggles at some point in his first Tour de France.
But so far, weakness has been the last trait observers would associate with Sagan.
"We've got to win stages and also (for) Sagan to be distanced in those sorts of finishes, because he has a massive lead," White said after Sagan powered to the win in stage three.
"We haven't seen a lead like this in the points jersey, I don't think ever.
"But it hasn't been your normal Tour de France first couple of days, it's been two uphill (finishes) in three stages, so we'll focus definitely on the stages in the next couple of days."
Morale at the Australian team appears high, even though they botched the intermediate sprint in stage three.
Simon Gerrans also suffered cuts to his arm when he crashed during the third stage, while Goss' bike was damaged in the same pile-up and that put him out of contention for the day.
"Hopefully (these next stages) are sprints and hopefully we can get up there onto that top step," Goss said.
"We definitely have a good team and everyone is feeling good, everyone is riding well together, so we'll just keep doing what we've been doing.
"We've been super-consistent ... every time we've done a sprint train, we've been in the top three."
By Roger Vaughan - AAP