André Griepel: ‘I quickly learned I was not part of the plan at Lotto – Soudal’

The German sprinting powerhouse said he is not ready to retire and is targeting Paris-Roubaix

André Greipel has moved to a Pro Continental team for 2019 (Photo: Yuzuru SUNADA)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

André Greipel said he is not ready to retire and is looking to perform at Paris-Roubaix as he steps down from the WorldTour.

The German sprinting sensation is moving down to join French Pro Continental outfit Arkéa - Samsic, after learning he did not have a future at Lotto-Soudal.

Greipel, now 36, said the move does not mark the winding down of his career as he continues to target big races.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper AS (opens in new tab), Greipel said: “In 2018, I quickly learned that I was no longer part of the plan at Lotto-Soudal.

“I spoke with Manu [Arkéa - Samsic manager Emmanuel Hubert] and he showed great enthusiasm about me signing.

“Finally, I decided to face this challenge with him.”

>>> Five things we learned from the 2019 Tour Down Under 

Greipel’s winning form has been sporadic in recent years – his last Tour de France stage victory came in 2016, when he won the final day in Paris.

In 2017, he won one stage at the Giro d’Italia but none at the Tour.

Last year was another mixed season for Greipel, who won his first race at the Tour Down Under and followed it up with victory on the final day.

He struggled at the Tour de France, winning no stages before being eliminated when he finished outside the time cut on stage 12 to Alpe d’Huez.

But Greipel returned stronger in the late season, winning two stages at the Tour of Britain.

He said: “My head remains strong. I’m still passionate about my spot.

“I have not decided when I'll stop.

“One day my career will come to an end, but not yet.”

>>> Fabio Aru: ‘2018 was one of the darkest moments of my career’

Having won a stage of all three Grand Tours, including 11 in France, there is very little missing from Greipel’s palmarès.

But there is one gap in his illustrious career – he has yet to win a Monument.

His best opportunity came in 2017, when he finished seventh in Paris-Roubaix, just 12 seconds down on winner Greg Van Avermaet.

Looking ahead to the 2019 season, Greipel said “I would like to do a good Paris-Roubaix" - that goal is at least possible, after his new team have been given a wildcard spot to ride the cobbles.

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Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.