German André Greipel profited on the last occasion possible to win a stage at the Giro d'Italia and to confirm team HTC-Columbia's faith in selecting him as team leader of a Grand Tour.
Mark Cavendish, prior to the Giro d'Italia, questioned his team-mate's ability to win big races, above all Monuments. The 18th stage to Brescia was far from a monument, but it was an important win.
Greipel came across cold and closed when questioned if this Giro d'Italia win was a response to Cavendish's criticism.
"I do every race that I can do well for the team, I don't look to someone else," Greipel said. "That is why I ride my bike, to try my best."
The two sprinters have been at odds since the 2007 Etoile de Bessèges. Often they had public arguments, but team owner, Bob Stapleton talked to them last month about their exchanges to the press.
Greipel is not the only one winning. Cavendish, who won three stages at the Giro d'Italia last year, won a stage at the Tour of California 10 days ago. Sports director Valerio Piva confirmed that the two cyclists will continue to race separate programmes and that the team will take only Cavendish to the Tour de France.
Piva explained today, "It is not ideal that we take both of them there."
Greipel wants to race the Tour de France and, at the start of the Giro d'Italia, said that some day he would like to sprint head-to-head with Cavendish. When asked today if he wanted to go to France, Greipel again came across closed at first, but then revealed his grief to miss the biggest race.
"If the team wants me to go to the Tour, then I will go." He added, "It is important for riders. I have never raced the Tour de France, so it is a goal I want to reach once. If it is not this year, then I hope in the next years."
He will likely take a break and then start to prepare for the World Championships via the Vuelta a España. The Brescia win could play in his favour, three riders have won a Giro d'Italia in Brescia and then go on to win the World Championships: Paolo Bettini in 2006, Mario Cipollini in 2002 and Gianni Bugno in 1991.
Greipel takes sprinters' last hurrah at Giro
Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit
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