Greipel hopes Cavendish moves to Sky, wants top billing in HTC Columbia
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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Greipel hopes Cavendish moves to Sky, wants top billing in HTC Columbia

by Conal Andrews at 5:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

His comments are unlikely to endear himself to HTC Columbia owner Bob Stapleton, but German sprinter André Greipel has admitted that he personally hopes Mark Cavendish moves to Team Sky for 2011.

“It would be the most favourable solution for everyone,” he said, according to Sportal.de. “Obviously I would love to see myself as Team Columbia’s number one sprinter.”

Greipel missed four months of racing last year following a big crash in the Santos Tour Down Under. Despite, that, he managed to clock up 20 victories, including four stages in the Vuelta a España. That earned him the points jersey there.

Cavendish took 24 victories, including six stages in the Tour de France, three in the Giro d’Italia and Milan-San Remo. The Manx rider won every sprint he contested in the Tour, and with the Green Jersey one of his biggest priorities for 2010, he will want to maximise his points in the race.

The HTC Columbia team management has said that it is considering putting both riders in the Tour but, if so, Greipel would have to work for Cavendish. It remains to be seen how well that arrangement would work out. “There is talk that we must start it together. We will see what happens,” said the 27 year old, who took three stages plus the overall classification in the recent Santos Tour Down Under.

He added that the Tour was very important for him, partially because what a stage win or two would do to his worth. “As a rider, that is where the market value is.”

HTC Columbia’s Brian Holm didn’t sound too perturbed by the comments, indicating that he could understand Greipel’s sentiments. However he indicated that he is clearly number two on the team, and that he had to accept it.

“It would have been more surprising if he said the opposite,” he told TV2.dk. “It is clear that would be easier for Greipel to win stages in the Tour de France if Cavendish was riding for another team. But Cavendish is number one with us, and that is that. Greipel can produce a few more watts, but in turn he is also slightly higher on the bike [and thus less aerodynamic]. The statistics don’t lie – Cavendish is the best.”

The Briton normally works closely with Mark Renshaw, who acts as his leadout man. Renshaw has been hit with the Epstein-Barr virus, though, and so Greipel is a logical replacement for that role.

Team Sky has stated on multiple occasions that it wants Cavendish to be part of the squad. Stapleton has insisted that he will do everything in his power to ensure that the 24 year old stays put. His contract is up at the end of this season but it is certain that the American will pay well to keep him on board.

One advantage that HTC Columbia can offer is that its team is built entirely around Cavendish. He would have to share the billing with GC contender Bradley Wiggins at Team Sky. He has however worked closely with British Cycling for many years, and could be enticed by the thoughts of ‘coming home’ and being part of the first-ever British ProTour team.

Either way, he's staying put for 2010 at least, and Greipel has to get used to the idea that he is number two on his current squad.


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