André Greipel will continue racing at WorldTour level for at least another two years after signing a new contract.
The Germain sprinter will remain with Israel Start-Up Nation until 2022, which will take him beyond his 40th birthday.
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Greipel is among the best sprinters of his generation, with 11 Tour de France stages to his name over his 16-year career.
The 37-year-old said: “To tell you the truth, I was expecting the team to offer me a one-year extension.
“Of course I was very flattered and pleased that the team management have shown so much trust in me. It was an easy decision to accept the offer and I am fully ready to prolong my career and help the team keep growing.”
Greipel is the most prolific winner in the men’s peloton with 156 victories (Marianne Vos has 228), but has been through a turbulent few seasons.
After leaving Lotto-Soudal at the end of 2018, Greipel had a brief season with Arkéa-Samsic last year before he broke contract and joined Israel Start-Up Nation.
The Israeli WorldTour team is new to the peloton this year after taking over the remains of the Katusha-Alpecin squad.
Earlier this year, Cycling Weekly explore the celebration and controversy surrounding the squad.
When joining Israel Start-Up Nation, Greipel was not sure if he would continue racing beyond 2020, but after the coronavirus pandemic stopped all racing he decided he had at least a few more years in the legs.
He said: “I didn’t get the opportunity to race the full season, so when the team offered me the chance to stay, I consulted my family and that was it.”
Greipel has also impressed billionaire team owner Sylvan Adams, who said: “André carries himself with grace and humility, despite his impressive palmares. Prior to the corona shutdown, Andre had been a great mentor to our younger riders, in particular to our Israeli neo-pro sprinter Itamar Einhorn, who scored the first podium ever by an Israeli, at the Tour Colombia.”
It’s been 17 months since Greipel crossed the line first in competition (at the 2019 Tropicale Amissa Bongo), but after scoring three top-10 finishes in the Tour Down Under he feels he still has the ability to win.
“I am still capable of producing results,” he said, “but we all share the responsibility in this team.”