André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) is becoming more relaxed and composed in the sprints, a snowball effect that’s helping him win more. Today, the German took his second sprint win in the Tour de France when the fifth stage finished in Saint-Quentin.
“He was smart enough to let the other ones [Matt Goss of team Orica] start early. That’s what I mean, he has confidence,” General manager, Marc Sergeant told Cycling Weekly. “Otherwise, you panic and start sprinting. How he lets two or three riders pass. Amazing how he won.”
Greipel nearly crashed at two kilometres out with Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp). He had to unclip from his pedals, but regained his composure.
Cavendish failed to show in the sprint after yesterday’s crash in Rouen. He faded when Goss started his sprint and left it to Greipel. Greipel won over Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Goss.
“It’s experience from my team-mates,” Greipel said in the press conference.
His team led for most of the day. Sky took over, but Lotto finished the job. Only a brief interruption by Goss and Orica team-mate Daryl Impey seem to cause havoc.
“Henderson was a bit tired and we needed to time it right,” Greipel added. “I was lucky Goss passed me and I could use him. I saved some power there.”
Of the three sprint wins so far, World Champion Cavendish won one and Greipel two. This was the first of the two ahead of Cavendish.
“For the press and public, it is a bonus, but in our minds, we just go off our strength and focus on the win,” Sergeant said.
“I don’t know why everyone thinks that I can’t beat him,” Greipel added. “I beat him in the last months. I have the best team around me, so why can’t I beat him. On Monday I was tired, yesterday he crashed.”
Greipel now has three Tour stage wins compared to Cavendish’s 21. He has three or possibly four more chances to win in this Tour, the last being when the race ends in Paris on July 22.
“It’s only his second Tour, which also makes a big difference. He has full confidence of the whole team,” Sergeant said. “I think that we’ve built up pretty good with him, not in Dauphine or Switzerland [stage races], but in lower profile races to have the opportunity to test and really go for the perfection. What we saw in Belgium, in Tournai, yesterday and today – that’s close to perfection.”
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
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Injury report: Tour stage four
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Sky down to eight after Siutsou crash
Kittel recovering from illness
Explaining the three kilometre rule
Sky’s embarrassment of riches
Rogers back on form and backing Wiggins in the Tour
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Liquigas coach tips Sagan for future Grand Tour win
Cancellara’s win lifts morale in RadioShack team
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs
Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials
CW’s Tour de France podcasts
Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs
Comment: Cavendish the climber
Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Andy Jones
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones
Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler
Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2012: Team presentation
Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce
Tour de France 2012: Related links
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Brief history of the Tour de France
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever