André Greipel set to focus on Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in 2017

German sprinters looks for new goals this season

André Greipel (centre) with Tom Boonen and Zdenek Stybar on the Oude Kwaremont (Credit: Graham Watson)

(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Top German sprinter André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) will possibly skip Milan-San Remo to focus specifically on the cobbled classics including the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Greipel has been putting more focus on Flanders and Paris-Roubaix over the recent years. He attacked and led in a group until the final time up the Oude Kwaremont in the 2016 Tour of Flanders,  producing 1000 watts at times in his efforts.

“It’s important for every rider to focus on other goals now and then," said Lotto-Soudal general manager, Marc Sergeant. "That helps to stay motivated and is challenging.

"He’s 34 years old and wants to try to start the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix in the best possible shape."

>>> Muur van Geraardsbergen returns to the Tour of Flanders for 2017

Greipel began his 2017 season with a bang, winning his first race in the Challenge Mallorca.

He will continue in Spain at the Vuelta a Murcia and in Portugal at the Volta ao Algarve. He will then travel to the Middle East to lead the sprint team in the Abu Dhabi Tour.

"It’s a WorldTour race since this season and so a more important race. Just like last year, he will participate in Paris-Nice," Sergeant added.

"It’s not certain yet if he will take the start in Milan-San Remo. Afterwards, André will race the Volta a Catalunya for the first time in his career."

Watch: André Greipel's toughest day

Milan-San Remo, won by Mark Cavendish in 2009, is considered the sprinters' monument. However, with a Catalunya trip, Greipel is more interested in building for the cobbled roads in the north. He said that he is too heavy for Milan-San Remo's final Poggio climb.

Greipel should team with Lotto-Soudal's Tiesj Benoot and Jürgen Roelandts for Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and although he has been prominent at times at both races in the past, he thinks the latter suits him best.

"I would then like to ride a different programme," he told Het Nieuwsblad over the winter. "I also like the Flemish classics, even if I usually ride for the team. We'll see what role I have."

Sprinters can fair well in the Hell of the North at times. Australian sprinter Stuart O'Grady won a dry and dusty edition in 2007 and John Degenkolb won in 2015.

Cavendish returned in 2016 to support the team and test the water for future rides.

"I don't know, we'll see," Cavendish, who placed 30th, told Cycling Weekly when asked if he could return for a result.

"I can never really take the race on myself like the big power houses, but I can do a good job for the team."

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