André Greipel hails one of the most successful weeks of his career
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Monday, January 23, 2012

André Greipel hails one of the most successful weeks of his career

by Ben Atkins at 12:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour Down Under
 
German Gorilla wins four out of seven races on Australian road trip

andre greipelLotto-Belisol’s André Greipel is on his way back to Europe after experiencing what he called “one of the most successful weeks in my career” at the Tour Down Under in Australia. The Gorilla was the dominant sprinter of the six stage race, winning three of those stages in addition to the Down Under Classic, two days before the Tour started.

“I have just finished one of the most successful weeks in my career,” Greipel wrote to his personal blog. “Australia has always been a good spot for me. Last year I couldn't win anything, but this time I am very satisfied with my four wins in seven races.”

Greipel is one of the most successful riders in the Tour Down Under’s history, winning the race overall in 2008 and 2010 and racking up a total of eight stages before this year’s edition. Last year though, in his first races with his new team of Omega Pharma-Lotto, the best he could manage was second in the opening stage; whatever went wrong in 2011 though, was well and truly put right in 2012.

“But it was most of all a success for the team,” he wrote. “From the first race, we harmonized well and every single rider played a decisive role in making these results possible.”

It was not all good for Lotto-Belisol, as the big crash on stage one cost the Belgian team Jürgen Roelandts with a fractured cervical vertebrae. The young former Belgian champion would have played a key role in Greipel’s lead out, but the team was able to make up for his loss.

“Of course, through the loss of Jürgen Roelandts we lost early on an important man for our sprint train, but on Sunday everything worked out perfectly,” Greipel explained. “Adam Hansen, Marcel Sieberg and Greg Henderson rode for me like machines. Three wins in the WorldTour are a great start in the season, and I am happy that I could thank the guys for their perfect performances with wins.”

Despite being a two-time winner, with his early success giving him the leader’s ochre jersey, the terrain of some of the later stages – particularly stage 5 to Old Wallunga Hill – meant that Greipel had no designs on a third title.

“The overall title was not a theme for us sprinters this year because of the mountaintop finish,” he explained. “We knew that going in to the race.”

After a near-perfect start to the season, Greipel can now head towards the Classics with far less pressure than last season; his big target for the spring is Milano-Sanremo and, should it come down to a bunch sprint on the Lungomare Italo Calvino, the Gorilla would be a good bet for a result.

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