Giro d'Italia: Andre Greipel searches for an important win
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Giro d'Italia: Andre Greipel searches for an important win

by Jered Gruber at 5:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia

Yesterday's sprint in Middelburg provided the grounds for a desperately needed win for Quick Step's beleaguered young sprinter, Wouter Weylandt. In Weylandt's success, however, came further disappointment for this year's most successful bike racer, Andre Greipel. The winner of eleven races so far in 2010 is now 0-2 in sprints thus far in the Giro.

Greipel's disappointing start to the Giro can surely be attributed to a stomach virus, which ripped through him on the eve of the start of the Giro in Amsterdam, but could also be traced deeper.

It is likely that Greipel's performance in the Giro will make or break his chances for this July's Tour de France. If he comes up big, his HTC-Columbia team would be foolish to leave him to a vacation this summer, whereas, if he performs below par at the Giro, then the big confrontation between Cavendish and Greipel will be easily avoided.

Pressure is suddenly a word that is coming up with Greipel: pressure to perform, pressure to prove that he warrants the inter-team strife that will undoubtedly come if he races the Tour. Team director, Jan Schaffrath, rebuffs the theory that Greipel could be suffering from the pressure though: "It's not because of pressure. Andre has already had pressure the entire year. For him, he's lacking that crucial five percent because of his stomach virus."

Talk of nothing being any different than normal is tough to swallow though when Greipel's actions after losing badly in the sprint yesterday are taken into account. The normally mild-mannered, soft-spoken Greipel erupted on first-time Giro stage winner, Wouter Weylandt after they crossed the line: "You didn't do anything at all, you rotten dumbass!” he cried with fist raised.

Schaffrath was quick to discount the altercation following the race: "The emotions boiled up, but anyone who knows Andre, knows that he's not the kind of rider that goes after other racers. I think they'll talk it over and shake hands."

It was indeed a rough start for Greipel, and for the rest of the field as well. Tempers were at a seeming all-time high yesterday during, after, and well after the race as the riders were treated to a late night enforced dinner following their 230 km of racing, two hour bus ride, and two hour plane ride.

Greipel looked back on his Dutch start on his personal website last night with a calm eye: "The last few days were anything but a child's birthday. Our team has ridden sensationally, but I'm just not myself at the moment."

Greipel is hopeful for the rest of the Giro though, "Now, I just need the rest day to hopefully completely recover. After that, I'll give it everything again, because I don't give up that quickly. Perhaps, the homeland of the Giro is a cure for me."

After Wednesday's 33km team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo, Greipel should get his next chance on the stage from Novara to Novi Ligure.


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