Mark Cavendish’s and André Greipel’s internal Team HTC-Columbia rivalry is ending. Germany’s Greipel announced that he will ride for Team OmegaPharma-Lotto next season.
“From January 1, 2011, it will be OmegaPharma-Lotto on my jersey,” said Greipel in a press statement yesterday.
“The sponsors and management have a clear vision for further development of the team, which is consistent with my personal athletic goals.”
Greipel recently had to place his goals on hold, including a chance to race Tour de France, because of the emergence of British team-mate, Cavendish. Cavendish won four stages at the Tour de France in 2008, six stages last year and five this year. He has also won five at the Giro d’Italia.
His wins have kept him the American team’s clear leader for the sprints and kept Greipel out of the Tour de France. Regardless, 28-year-old Greipel has won four stages at the Vuelta a España and two at the Giro d’Italia.
Their internal rivalry also kept them off the same team at races.
“There’s no chance of Greipel winning a Monument,” Cavendish told The Guardian in April. “There’s no chance whatsoever that he’s coming to a bike race that I’m in.”
The last time they raced together was at the 2008 Giro d’Italia, where Cavendish made his breakthrough as a Grand Tour sprinter. He won two sprints and helped Greipel win the stage to Locarno, Switzerland.
They will have a chance to go head-to-head October 3 at the World Championships in Geelong, Australia. Next year, with OmegaPharma, Greipel will have a chance to prove he can win a Monument at the Milan-San Remo and a chance to race the Tour de France.
Until then, Greipel will continue to ride for HTC-Columbia as he has done since he joined the team in 2006, when it was known as T-Mobile. Last week, he won two stages of the Tour of Poland and in July, two stages of the Tour of Austria.
“All these achievements would not have been possible without the great support of my team and my family,” said Greipel. “I would like to sincerely thank them all.”
With Greipel on his way out, Team Manager Bob Stapleton will likely strengthen the team around 25-year-old Cavendish. He secured one of his key lead out men last week when he re-signed Bernhard Eisel.