Lotto-Belisol banking on an André Greipel sprint in the Vattenfall Cyclassics
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lotto-Belisol banking on an André Greipel sprint in the Vattenfall Cyclassics

by Ben Atkins at 11:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vattenfall Cyclassics
German Gorilla looking to improve on third place of 2010 in his home Classic

andre greipelLotto-Belisol is banking on tomorrow’s Vattenfall Cyclassics finishing in a sprint, where the Belgian team hopes that André Greipel will prevail. The German sprinter finished in third place in the 2010 edition of the Hamburg, Germany, Classic - when riding for HTC-Columbia - and hopes to go better this time.

The team is also taking fast-finishing rouleur Jürgen Roelandts, who was the team’s best finisher last year in sixth. The race is by no means guaranteed to finish in a sprint, but has not been taken by a breakaway since current Italian national coach Paolo Bettini took the 2003 edition.

Despite historically being a sprinters’ race however, there are opportunities on the 245.9km course offered to attacking riders, with the main obstacle in the race being four ascents of the Waseberg climb, which features gradients of up to 15%.

“The entire race will be held in and around Hamburg,” explained directeur sportif Michiel Elijzen. “In the finale, the Waseberg might decide the race. Normally, that's where the difference is being made, but often, the sprinting teams can regroup.

“With a strong team aroung Greipel and a good Jürgen Roelandts, the sprint will be our main goal,” Elijzen added. “If André is good, after the Tour and the Olympics, he will have a good chance, but the competition is fierce, with [Liquigas-Cannondale’s Peter] Sagan and [Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Tom] Boonen. But without a doubt, our sprinting bomb will be motivated to show himself in his home country.”

Greipel has so far enjoyed his best season to date, with the highlight being his three stage victories in the Tour de France. Like former teammate, and big British rival Mark Cavendish, he missed the winning move in the Olympic Games road race, but proved his continuing form as he beat the Manx World champion in sprint for 27th place.

Roelandts meanwhile, after a disastrous start to the year - where he fractured his sixth cervical vertebra in a crash in the Tour Down Under - has found form recently, and was only narrowly denied a stage victory in last week’s Eneco Tour.

Lotto-Belisol team for the Vattenfall Cyclassics
Lars Bak, Francis De Greef, Gert Dockx, André Greipel, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Dennis Vanendert.


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