André Greipel has given his former rival Mark Cavendish his backing to be Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's designated sprinter for this summer's Tour de France.
Even before the flag dropped of the first race of this season, both Cavendish and his colleague Fabio Jakobsen, who are both vying for the coveted spot, have faced endless questions about whether they will ride the 2022 French Grand Tour, a question that will no doubt annoy the both of them right up until the Grand Départ in Copenhagen.
If it was up to the recently retired Greipel, who won 11 Tour stages during his career, he says it wouldn't be smart to leave Cavendish at home.
"You could clearly see in the Tour of Oman that Mark is still the fastest," Greipel told Wielerflits (opens in new tab), Cavendish having opened his account for the season on stage two of the Middle Eastern race.
"I see no reason to leave him at home. I saw early last year that he was back on the level. I was called crazy when I said that, but look how many Tours sprints he won. It's not my decision, but I wouldn't think it smart not to take him to France."
Jakobsen has made an even faster start to 2022, taking two stages of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana as well as the points classification, as well as winning two stages of the in-progress Volta ao Algarve. One thing is for sure, the sprinters being pitted against each other for the spot in the lead up to July will only do positive things for Quick-Step's win tally.
While Cavendish is currently scheduled for the Giro d'Italia and Jakobsen for the Tour, reports CyclingNews (opens in new tab), Jakobsen knows it's not final until the team is officially announced this summer.
"I think in QuickStep we usually go with one sprinter. but that can always change. It’s not my decision. We have a long list with I think fourteen names. I’m not the only sprinter on that list," Jakobsen said.
"But it’s on the planning, which means I don’t prepare for the Giro, I prepare for the Tour. And if I’m not good enough, then I don’t go. I guess we’ll see. The summer is still a long way away and you never know what happens. But I’m now in the Algarve and I’m enjoying it. The summer is something next."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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