HTC-Columbia considers Mark Cavendish and André Greipel in Tour
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

HTC-Columbia considers Cavendish and Greipel in Tour

by Steve Jones at 2:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

The sprint finishes in last year's Tour de France ended up being a formality last year for HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish. The Manxman took home six stage wins and capped off his performance with a literal cruise down victory lane, winning the final stage easily on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Now, with teammate André Greipel the clear number two sprinter in the world, the HTC-Columbia camp is considering also featuring the German in this year's Grande Boucle.

"There has been talk about both of us starting [the Tour de France] together. What happens, we will have to see," said Greipel to DPA.

The 27-year-old is fresh off winning three stages and the overall at the Santos Tour Down Under and currently sits atop the individual ProTour standings. Together Cavendish and Greipel brought home the lion's share of the 86 victories by the men's team, and as the German continues to display his dominance, he anxiously awaits a chance to test his legs with a debut in the Tour de France.

As expected, Greipel would be happy to see his fellow sprinter explore other opportunities saying, "If Cavendish were to leave HTC-Columbia after this season and join the new British Team Sky - that would be the best solution for everyone."

Team Sky principal David Brailsford has already announced a keen interest in bringing Cavendish on board. The acquisition would no doubt be a very expensive one, and could likely throw a monkey wrench in the team's aspirations for yellow.

Brailsford's aim with Team Sky is to produce the first British winner of the Tour de France within five years. Bringing Cavendish on board would mean that the sprinter would have to be willing give up his green jersey dreams for the Tour de France. In fact, if the team is serious about a Tour win, it would be in their best interest to leave their sprinters at home. Those realities make the move a bit more complicated for the British team.

With a contract that expires at the end of the season, Greipel said he would be happy to stay with Bob Stapleton's team adding, "Sure would be very happy to see myself as the number one sprinter for the HTC-Columbia team."

Greipel will be back to racing in Mallorca in early February, and has his first big goal for the season set as Paris-Nice which takes place from March 7-14. If Greipel continues his winning ways up to the Tour, his team will have to deal with a delicate situation this July. Their saving grace may well be having the combination of sports director Allan Peiper and Stapleton around to project their calming influence amongst their stars.


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