Greipel's first Tour stage win 'extra special'
German André Greipel shot around the bend final sweeping bend and over the line first at the Tour de France yesterday. He won his first ever stage and, making extra special, he took it against Mark Cavendish.
"It is a symbol," Omega Pharma-Lotto's team manager, Marc Sergeant told Cycling Weekly. "This is a race he was never able to participate in because he was in Cavendish's team. Now he can because he's in another team, and winning against Cavendish must be something special for him."
Sergeant signed Greipel last year when his contracted ended with HTC-Highroad, where he had spent five years in the team with Mark Cavendish. He told Greipel to focus simply on the big wins, not pulling in numerous smaller ones.
Up until last year, Greipel raced in the same team as Cavendish, where he had often gone on winning sprees. Last year, he won numerous races from stages at the Tour of Down Under to the Vuelta a España, but failed the race the Tour because Cavendish proved his speed early on with the team.
In 2008, Cavendish five stages at the Tour de France. He now has 17.
"Cavendish has been the number one sprinter since his first Grand Tour stage win in 2008," HTC's coach, Erik Zabel told Cycling Weekly.
"Of course, it's harder for him because he's won 17 stages in the Tour. He's a title defender, he's the main favourite when coming to a bunch sprint. All sprinters want to beat him, especially André because they were team-mates for several years and there was this competition between the two sprinters, two classy sprinters.
"Cav wanted to win today and it's not easy for him to be beaten by Andre."
Zabel explained that the team was committed to Cavendish yesterday in the 10th leg to Carmaux. Team-mate Tony Martin chased down an attack by Greipel's team-mate, Philippe Gilbert in the final 15 kilometres. Gilbert wanted to put Cavendish on the defence and possibly sneak clear for green jersey points.
Cavendish gained 44 points yesterday: nine from winning in the intermediate sprint for seventh and 35 for placing second to Greipel. Gilbert leads the competition by 29 points over Cavendish and told Cycling Weekly that he wants to try to win the jersey by Paris.
"He's coming close now," Zabel said of Cavendish. "It was a big chance, with the stage win, we would have been close."
HTC will have its last chance for a few days today. The 167.5-kilometre leg to Lavaur suits sprinters and should see another showdown between the two former team-mates.
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
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Tour de France 2011: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2011: Official start list
Tour de France 2011: Who's riding?
Tour de France 2011: Team guide
Tour de France 2011: Stage reports
Stage 10: Greipel beats Cavendish in Tour stage 10 sprint
Stage nine: Sanchez conquers day of crashes and climbs
Stage eight: Costa wins first mountain stage of 2011 Tour
Stage seven: Cavendish wins but Wiggins crashes out of Tour
Stage six: Boasson Hagen takes Sky's first Tour de France win
Stage five: Cavendish wins in Cap Frehel
Stage four: Evans edges out Contador on the Mur-de-Bretagne
Stage three: Farrar sprints to first Tour victory in Redon
Stage two: Garmin win team time trial to put Hushovd in yellow
Stage one: Gilbert blasts to victory as Tour gets off to spectacular start
Tour de France 2011: Highlights videos
Stage 10 video highlights
Stage nine video highlights
Stage eight video highlights
Stage seven video highlights
Stage six video highlights
Video: Erik Zabel's role as Cavendish's sprint advisor
Stage five video highlights
Video: The ride of Philippe Gilbert at the Tour de France
Stage four video highlights
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Tour de France 2011: Photo galleries
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011 wallpaper gallery
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011 team time trial training photo gallery by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team press conferences by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011: Live text coverage
Tour de France 2011 LIVE: CW's text coverage schedule
Stage seven live text coverage
Tour de France 2011: Archive videos
Video: 2003 Centenary Tour
Video: Lance Armstrong retrospective
Video: Behind the scenes at the Tour
Video: Guerini's 1999 stage win
Video: Thrills and spills at the Tour
Video: Armstrong in 1999
Video: The Indurain years
Video: Ladies of the Tour
Video: Best of bizarre
Tour de France 2011: Archive articles1999 Tour de France stage two: Passage du Gois causes chaos
Tour de France 2011: TV schedule
British Eurosport Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
ITV4 Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France: The jerseys, what they are and what they mean
Potted history of the Tour de France
The closest Tours in history
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
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