LAUNCESTON rider Matt Goss is leaving Orica-GreenEDGE and possibly the elite level of world cycling.
After three years with the Australian ProTour team, the 27-year-old sprinter has said he will be leaving in 2015 and may have to drop down to the sport's lower tiers of Pro Continental or Continental.
Goss told Cyclingnews that the decision to leave the team was mutual and did not surprise him.
"It's something that I've kind of known about for a while," the former Exeter student said.
"It's something that I spoke to the team a little bit about as well. The last years haven't been the best of my career, and I think I need something different and a bit of a fresh start."
Speaking before yesterday's start of the Tour of Alberta in Canada, Goss would not confirm whether he was joining the South African Pro Continental team MTN-Qhubeka.
"I haven't signed the contract yet," he said. "But I have something in my inbox. When that's signed it will be up to the team to decide as to when they want to announce it."
Goss was among the big name stars when the Australian team was established, arriving as one of pro cycling's top-ranked riders courtesy of his career highlight, winning the 2011 Milan-San Remo classic.
In the same year he had claimed a silver medal at the world championship behind HTC-High Road teammate Mark Cavendish.
A former track world champion and multiple Launceston Classic champion, Goss won GreenEDGE its first Grand Tour stage in the 2012 Giro d'Italia and joined the elite group to have savoured stage wins in all three Grand Tours when part of the team time trial success in last year's Tour de France.
His 17 professional wins also include stages at the Tour of Britain, the Herald Sun Tour, Tour de Wallonie, Tour of Denmark, Tour of Oman, Tour Down Under, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of California. He also won the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic and GP Ouest France.
Goss's sole victory this season came in January in the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, since when GreenEDGE has not selected him for any Grand Tours and turned its sprint focus to Michael Matthews, who won stages and wore leader's jerseys at both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana.