André Greipel leader for the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg
This year it’s the 20th anniversary of the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg. This German WorldTour race was organized for the first time in 1996 and will now take place on Sunday 23 August. No doubt lots of people will want to see André Greipel race in his home country. The start takes place in Kiel, this year the riders have to cover 221.3 kilometres. With 53 kilometres to go the peloton – with apart from eight Lotto Soudal riders also Mark Cavendish, Arnaud Démare, Marcel Kittel, Alexander Kristoff and Elia Viviani – will cross the finish line a first time. Fifteen kilometres before that they will have done the first of three ascents of the Waseberg. The peloton will reach the top of that climb again at 28.3 and 15.5 kilometres from the end. The past years the Waseberg had to be climbed four times, now one time less. It’s very likely that a sprinter will take the victory.
Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “André Greipel is our leader on Sunday. His condition is very good, he proved that at the Eneco Tour last week. With Jens Debusschere we have a second fast man in the team, in case something would happen to André, like a crash or mechanical problem. We aim for a sprint, no one of us will join an early breakaway, unless it’s a really large group that could be dangerous.”
“After the last ascent of the Waseberg there are mostly forty to fifty riders left in front. When the pace is not too high, others can still join afterwards. If the race would get tough in the finale right from the first ascent of the Waseberg Tiesj Benoot is an extra card to play for us. He has the advantage that he’s fast enough for a sprint with up to five riders. Because the Waseberg has to be climbed one time less than previous years it’s possible that we get a battle right from the first ascent, but on the other hand it’s good for the sprinters; André has a much bigger chance to win now. According to the weather forecast there won’t be much wind and it’s going to be a headwind, so it’s not encouraging for riders who want to attack quite early. On top of that, many teams will want to see the race end with a sprint, that can be allies.”
André Greipel: “The shape was not top at the Eneco Tour, but it’s certainly good enough to get a good result in Hamburg. The preparation was better than last year, when I got ill during the Eneco Tour and had to abandon. The Vattenfall Cyclassics is the biggest race that we have in Germany, so of course I would like to add this to my list of victories. I’ve already been close a few times. (André Greipel was 2nd in 2013 and 2012 and 3rd in 2010, LTS). There will be a lot of family members at the race to support me, so that’s an extra motivation.”
“It doesn’t matter if the Waseberg has to be climbed four or three times, it’s all about the last ascent. There the non-sprinters will try to make the race hard. There are several other teams with a sprinter, but BMC for example has selected Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet, two dangerous guys. But I’m sure my teammates will do everything to help me win the race.”
Selection Lotto Soudal:
Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg.
Sports director: Bart Leysen.