Henderson exits Sky to join former team-mates at Lotto-Ridley
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Henderson exits Sky to join former team-mates at Lotto-Ridley

by Xylon van Eyck at 10:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Kiwi looking forward to working with Greipel again

Greg HendersonAfter joining Team Sky at its inception last year, Greg Henderson has announced he will leave the British outfit at the end of the season. The New Zealander has signed a two year deal with the Belgian Lotto-Ridley team, and will be reunited with former team-mate Andre Greipel there.

“I definitely enjoyed my time at Team Sky,” he told VeloNation this week. “I had some very memorable times there and learnt a lot especially about aerodynamics, bike positioning and nutrition. Plus of course you make a lot of good friends and that's what you miss the most when you leave.

“Good guys like Steve Cummings, Geraint [Thomas], Swifty [Ben Swift], Froomie [Chris Froome], Russell [Downing]. Everyone really. That's the thing. You become a successful team because you like the guys you are riding with or for.”

Henderson is a stage winner in the Vuelta a España but has missed out on being selected for any Grand Tour this year, which has most likely played a part in his decision to leave the team. He has been hired by Lotto to act as a leadout man for German sprinter Greipel. The two men were formerly team-mates at Team Columbia-HTC (now HTC-Highroad).

“I'm looking forward to a few things to be honest. One, to get the 'old band' back together. [Marcel] Sieberg, [Adam] Hansen, [Vicente] Reynes, Griepel and myself. I have such great times with these guys. We have worked well together in the past and we formed great friendships over the years.

“Secondly, I'm excited about helping build a sprint train for Andre. I know he is one of the fastest in the world and I believe with the correct support he will be very hard to beat by anyone. I have been helping orchestrate leadouts for a few years now and when we get it right it's very hard to beat.”

VeloNation spoke with Mark Renshaw last week who stated that next year will be a great year for cycling fans with so many teams building strong leadouts for their sprinters. Henderson echoed these sentiments. “Teams are realising how important the leadout has become, so next year you will see big trains from many teams. Leopard, GreenEdge, Garmin, Lotto, Rabobank, Sky,” he said.

“It's going to make for some very entertaining viewing on the telly, that's for sure. Even teams like FDJ have been putting together a leadout for their sprinters. Liquigas - the list goes on.

“One team I am interested to watch develop next year is Skil Shimano. It's going to be huge year next year for sprint trains.”

At 35 years of age, the Kiwi is yet to make his debut in the Tour de France with next year likely being his best chance. He is expected to have a similar race program to that of Greipel’s and has already adapted his sprint training to that of a leadout sprint.

On a personal level, he has had two impressive victories this season in Paris-Nice and the Tour of California. When asked about his own sprinting ambitions on the new team, he said he’d get his chance at times. “Of course there will be days when Andre isn't feeling super but I'm also very good at talking to him during a race,” he explained. “Basically, keeping his head on and mentally getting him to the finish…I know if he gets to 200m to go, he has fifteen seconds of power that not many people can match.

“If he is totally dead one day and I'm good I'm pretty sure he will allow me to have a go for myself.”


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