Team Columbia-Highroad Achieves First Goal Down Under
Team Columbia-Highroad’s Andre Greipel can breathe a little easier today after winning his first stage of the 2009 Tour Down Under for his team.
After winning four stages and the overall classification at the 2008 edition of the race, and continuing to win throughout the season, Greipel’s first aim was to start the season as well as he did last year.
“All I really wanted was to win a stage here,” explained Greipel. “Everything on top of that is a bonus.”
Greipel won the bunch sprint at the end of a blistering hot 140km stage set in north east Adelaide.
“I had the perfect lead out from the team, just like I did on Sunday [at the pre-tour citerium],” he said of the final kilometres. “On Sunday, we had a bit of bad luck and it was my fault at the end that we didn’t win so we really wanted to try it again. I got another perfect lead out and this time I had luck on my side and we won.”
“It was really hot all day,” Greipel said of the conditions. “Too hot for the two guys in the break away. Bernie [Eisel] started riding to bring them back with about 70km to go, but it was so hot that we didn’t need to chase very hard. We were very grateful for the ice we got in the feed zone.”
“The final part of the race was really fast. The guys did a great job. In the finishing straight I was on the wheel of Mark Renshaw and he took me all the way. Then Robbie [McEwen] started the sprint and I grabbed his wheel.”
“I’m very happy that were able to win a stage here. Now I hope we can continue to keep the jersey in the team. We will try our best,” finished Greipel.
COlumbia-Highroad Team Director Allan Peiper also admitted that winning the first stage “takes the edge off a little.”
“We know that it is going to be difficult to be as successful as last year,” he explained. “But we are very motivated and the guys pulled off the perfect lead out today. In addition, Andre confirmed his status of being one of the top sprinters in the world and we can look forward to a great season from him again this year.”
Greipel now wears the orange leader's jersey into stage two of the 2009 Tour Down Under holding a five second lead over Australian Baden Cooke (UNISA).