They’ve been rivals their whole careers, and even though Mark Cavendish has left the relative safe haven of Etixx-Quick Step for Dimension Data, Andre Greipel feels the Brit will be a threat this season.
Greipel enters 2016 off the back of one of his best years – winning four stages at the Tour de France being the highlight – while Cavendish also excelled, winning 14 races before mid-July.
But even though Cavendish has had to settle in a new team this winter, Greipel believes the Manxman will still be a contender in the big races.
“That Mark Cavendish at Dimension Data has less [support] than when surrounded by Etixx [riders], will not have such a big influence on his way of sprinting,” Greipel told Sporza.
“He has a lot of class and positions himself very well still. Do not underestimate also the qualities of [Cavendish’s teammates] Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel.”
Another of the German’s rivals, Alexander Kristoff, will also continue to thrive, according to the Lotto-Soudal sprinter, even though he will ride without key lieutenant Luca Paolini, who is suspended for failing a doping test.
Kristoff has helped move the goalposts in terms of sprinting in recent seasons, with the Norwegian and John Degenkolb dominating the cobbled Classics in 2015.
Greipel rode both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix last season, finishing 15th and 28th respectively after riding hard on the front for teammates Jurgen Roelandts and Tiesj Benoot.
And Greipel hopes to put in a strong showing once again in the one-day races, with October’s World Championships in Qatar his top target.
“I hope I’m in April to address all have good form and I can put down a good result in the spring Classics,” he said.
“Also to win a stage in the Giro and the Tour would be nice. In addition, in October one race in my calendar is labelled with a dot.”