Greipel set to leave HTC-Columbia in 2011
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Greipel set to leave HTC-Columbia in 2011

by Ben Atkins at 10:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

andre greipelThe off-road battle between HTC-Columbia sprinters Mark Cavendish and André Greipel has taken another turn, with the latter announcing his intention to leave the team at the end of the season. Despite Greipel having taken eleven wins this season to Cavendish’s one, the young Manxman remains to be seen as the team’s number one sprinter.

Relations between the two have soured this season with the German wanting more of a high-profile leadership role. The two are currently being kept apart on separate race programmes, with Greipel riding next month’s Giro d’Italia and Cavendish riding the Tour of California. The fact that the team’s preference for Cavendish means that he will miss the Tour de France has prompted Greipel to look elsewhere.

“Next year I will go to a team where I can fulfil my own ambitions,” said the German to Sport-Bild. “I am now 27 and I can’t wait forever.”

So far this season Greipel has taken three stages and the overall in the Tour Down Under, the Trofeo Magalluf-Palmanova in Mallorca, a stage of the Volta ao Algarve and five stages of the Tour of Turkey. With dental problems interrupting his early season preparations, Cavendish’s sole victory to date has been a stage in last month’s Volta a Catalunya.

In 2009 Greipel also won a hatful of victories starting in January at the Tour Down Under and ending in October with Paris-Bourges. The list also included four stages of the Vuelta a España, netting him the points jersey in the process. It was the quality of Cavendish’s victories – including an incredible six stages of the Tour, four of the Giro (although one was the team time trial) and the Milano-Sanremo – that has made the Manx Express number one at HTC-Columbia.

With Cavendish contracted to the team through 2011, it is Greipel who looks to be giving way. One team which may be interested in signing the big German is OmegaPharma-Lotto, who was entirely winless in 2010 until Philippe Gilbert took victory in the Amstel Gold Race.  The Belgian team may be looking for a rider to ensure that the same does not happen next season.

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