Andre Greipel enthusiastic about working with Greg Henderson again
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Andre Greipel enthusiastic about working with Greg Henderson again

by Xylon van Eyck at 6:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 

Andre GreipelAndre Greipel has spoken of his satisfaction with the news that he is to reunite with his former leadout man Greg Henderson, who he competed alongside while at the HTC Highroad team. The two will work together again after two years apart, and the German sprinter believes that the move will boost his chances of picking up big wins next season.

“Of course I am looking forward to the next year. Greg is one of the best lead out guys in the cycling world and we always worked so well together in the past,” Greipel told VeloNation. “We will be more competitive in the sprints than this year.”

When VeloNation spoke to Greg Henderson in September, he spoke highly of Greipel. “I know he is one of the fastest in the world and I believe with the correct support he will be very hard to beat by anyone,” he said then. The two former teammates will be reunited next season at the new look Lotto-Ridley team, with a strong sprint train being built around the German.

The 29 year old Greipel left HTC-Highroad at the end of the last year to join Omega Pharma-Lotto. During his years with the American team he won races, almost at will. In 2008 he notched up fifteen wins, twenty in 2009 and again twenty in 2010. This year, although he made his Tour de France debut with a stage win, he “only” managed to win eight races.

He states that part of the reason is that he had to pass over his own opportunities for others. “I am happy with the year. It was for me a new experience to have the full support of the team. Of course with [Philippe] Gilbert, the tactics changed a lot. It was not always bunch sprints, so it was hard for me to go for bunch sprints. I would have liked to win more, of course.

“After my crash in Tirreno-Adriatico I had knee problems and I couldn't do sprint training. Maybe this was also the reason why I didn't win some more races.”

Greipel added that the leadout this year might not have been as good as at HTC-Highroad, but that it was improving with each race. The team is planning to further improve it next year, with Henderson’s presence helping to do that.

The Gorilla - as he is affectionately known to his teammates – turned professional with Wiesenhof in 2005. He then joined T-Mobile the following year, a team that was eventually to be taken over by Bob Stapleton. The team went on to win over 500 races. This year however, Stapleton announced the team would be closing its doors after he failed to find a replacement sponsor.

Greipel left the team, due in part to disillusionment with missing the Tour de France, but is still disappointed to see it end. “I am really sad that the most winning team is stopping,” he said. “The team actually has existed since 1994 although Stapleton took it over from T-Mobile. Without this team I wouldn't be the rider I am now.”

Yesterday Lotto-Ridley learnt that it was included in the UCI’s list of top fifteen teams eligible for a WorldTour licence, according to its sporting criteria. When the licence is finalized, it will allow the team continued guaranteed access to races such as the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia as well as one-day Classics. Greipel will be a hard rider to beat in the races he targets, particularly with Henderson and other strong team-mates backing him up.

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