Greipel to miss Milan Sanremo, but dreams of Gent-Wevelgem or Paris-Roubaix win
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Greipel to miss Milan Sanremo, but dreams of Gent-Wevelgem or Paris-Roubaix win

by VeloNation Press at 10:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix, Milan-Sanremo
 
“Winning Paris-Roubaix is normally an utopia, but the race does suit me”

Andre GreipelAccepting that the modified route of Milan-Sanremo is too tough for his characteristics, André Greipel has ruled out participating in the first big Classic of the season, but admits to having his eyes set on two other major one day events.

The German rider is one of the best sprinters in the world but as he has proved in recent spring campaigns, he is also able to ride more strongly than many of his fellow gallopers in big one day races. Often aggressive in the Classics, he now hopes to translate that into more success.

“Because of the difficulty of Milan - Sanremo it's hard to aim for a result,” he accepts, ruling out that race. “But Ghent-Wevelgem is also a very beautiful race that has to lie within my possibilities. And winning Paris-Roubaix is normally an utopia, but the race does suit me.”

Greipel has ridden the past three editions of Sanremo, finishing 33rd, 52nd and 58th respectively. Things have become more difficult for 2014 due to the replacement of the Le Manie climb with the later ascent of Pompeiana.

That is slightly longer but, more significantly, comes much closer to the finish. Its location between the Cipressa and the Poggio makes things far tougher for the sprinters, and has already prompted Mark Cavendish to declare that he won’t ride the race.

Greipel is now following suit. It remains to be seen if he will consider it in future years, but Cavendish has suggested that if the course does not change, he will likely stick by his decision beyond 2014.

As regards Paris-Roubaix, Greipel is yet to shine in the results. However he has ridden aggressively in the past, and will once again attack the race. He was 21st in 2011, 77th in 2012 and then 68th earlier this year.

He has been much closer to the win in Gent Wevelgem, netting fourth place in 2011.

In addition to those spring targets, Greipel once again has his eyes focussed on the Tour de France. He has taken five stages there, and is aiming to bolster that tally next summer.

“In the Tour it is always our first goal to get a first stage win. Only then you can think about more,” he said. “But I want to be competitive the whole season. The young sprinters are developing well and I'm becoming a year older, but I'm still very fast.”

His rivals include Cavendish, of course, but so too the emerging riders Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano). They have already shown their speed and given indications that they could dominate this area of the sport in the future, with Kittel winning four stages in this year’s Tour and Sagan netting his second consecutive green jersey.

One factor that gives Greipel confidence is the strength of his Lotto Belisol leadout train. It has done a fine job for him in recent years and despite some changes to the lineup, he’s still feeling good about the way it will work in 2014.

“We have nine newcomers, but it doesn't feel that way. Some young riders have arrived in the team and there have come some new faces from other teams, but I got the feeling they fit in,” he confirmed.

“I have extended my contract, my train stayed and that is important for me. I'm happy here, otherwise I wouldn't have signed for a longer period.”

The German is one of the team’s biggest names and embraces that role. He knows that there are expectations of him, but feels up to taking that on. “I want to keep taking the responsibility to give the team victories, always trying to become better, working even more professional and to set new goals,” he said.

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