André Greipel powered his way to a sprint victory in Spain, his first win in two years.
The 38-year-old sprinting star has struggled for results in recent seasons, dealing with illness and contract changes, which all left him without a victory since January 2019.
But this year, now in his second season with Israel Start-Up Nation, Greipel looking to be closing in on victory, taking multiple top 10s in the early-season stage races and hitting the podium in the Tour of Turkey last month.
Then on Sunday (May 16), the German found his way back to the top step of the podium, winning the sprint in the Trofeo Alcudua-Port d’Alcuedia stage race, part of the Challenge Mallorca series.
The 1.1-ranked event is the third one-day race taking place over the last week on the Spanish island of Mallorca, with Greipel taking the victory in the sprint opportunity after Winner Anacona (Arkéa-Samsic) took victory in the Trofeo Andratx-Mirador des Colomer the previous day, and Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates) won the Trofeo Calvia.
Greipel beat Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) to the win on Sunday, with Christophe Noppe from Greipel’s old team Arkéa-Samsic coming in third.
For Greipel, the slump in results started in the 2019 season, when he left Lotto-Soudal after eight years of success to join French ProTeam Arkéa.
He went on to win one stage of La Tropicale Amissa Bongo stage race in Gabon, central Africa in January 2019 - his last win before this weekend.
But after dealing with a bacterial disease that impacted his results in the first half of the 2019 season, Greipel then made the surprise announcement that he would be leaving Arkéa after just one year, as he asked team management to terminate his contract.
Greipel never explained the full reasons for his departure, but team manager Emmanuel Hubert admitted he was disappointed with Greipel’s results and said he did not oppose him leaving the team.
The 11-time Tour de France stage winner then joined Israel Start-Up Nation, as the squad stepped up to WorldTour level for 2020, as one of the star signings for the team.
After joining the team, Greipel told Cycling Weekly: "If I was riding my bike for money, I would have stayed with Arkéa and made a holiday out of next year, but no that’s not my characteristic.
“I want to perform, I’m not just pinning my number on.
“That’s what I want to do next year, get back on the level where I was.”
Last year Greipel wasn’t able to get back to his best, with his biggest result coming on stage 10 of the Tour de France where he finished sixth.
But this season he has been a consistent feature in bunch finishes and took a huge step forward in the Tour of Turkey, finishing on the podium three times without taking a victory, before his win in Mallorca this weekend.
Greipel isn’t the only star sprinter to return to form this season, as Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) was dominant in the Tour of Turkey, winning four of the eight stages and bringing an emphatic end to his three-year drought.
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