Orica-GreenEDGE sprint ace Matthew Goss says the possibility of a sprinter winning the Santos Tour Down Under are remote, pointing to the addition of the Corkscrew Road climb on Stage 2, as the death knell for his and similar riders' chances.
We got a really strong team, we've got to take it day by day, we'll know after Stage 2 who's good and who isn't.
"I don't think it's a race for the sprinters anymore," said Goss to Cycling Central. "Maybe last year, a good sprinter could've gotten up Willunga and conceded maybe 20 seconds, and got that back in time bonuses.
"This year I think it's gotten out of the reach of the sprinters.
"Stage 2 is hard enough that it will give us a good idea of the GC,
Goss starred in the 2011 edition of the Tour picking up a stage win enroute to second overall.
That result sparked the start of the strongest year to date for the 26-year-old, with an Australian first victory at Milan-San Remo and a silver medal at the UCI Road World Championships, now proud memories.
Loaded with extra responsibility with Orica-GreenEDGE last season however Goss's progress stalled, not that a Grand Tour stage win at the Giro and a litany of top 10s at the Tour are anything to snort at.
The Australian does however have high standards.
Motivated to improve and return to the Goss of 2011, the sprinter chose to forgo the traditional trip home over the summer to better prepare for 2013.
That decision appears to have paid off with a comfortable ride at the Mars Cycling Australia National Championships where he rode in support of Luke Durbridge's win, complimented by a solid second behind Andre Greipel on Sunday at the People's Choice Classic. It bodes well for the rest of Goss's Tour.
"I felt good I'm not unhappy. I'm happy with the way it's started.
"We got a really strong team, we've got to take it day by day, we'll know after Stage 2 who's good and who isn't."
The Santos Tour Down Under starts in Prospect, Tuesday 22 January.