André Greipel grabbed his second victory in Germany’s biggest stage race, the Bayern Rundfahrt, on Friday.
For the second time in three days, Greipel was once again the fastest in the bunch sprint which on this occasion decided the 178 kilometre stage between Bad Aibling and Schrobenhausen.
Greipel’s victory ahead of Germans Heinrich Haussler and Sebastian Siedler confirmed his status as top sprinter in the prestigious five-day stage race, and also that his comeback following an injury-blighted first half of the season is well on track.
“We had two guys in the break of the day, Tony Martin and Marcus Burghardt,” Greipel, whose victory is Columbia-Highroad men’s team’s 30th of the season, explained later. “It split but Marcus stayed ahead which was perfect because that way we only had to work when the break was caught with about six kilometres to go. On top of that [team-mate] Marcel Sieberg had been looking after me all day and keeping me out of the wind so I had more energy left for the sprint.”
“There was a sharp left-hand turn but I got the ideal lead-out and we’d done a lap of the finishing circuit so I knew what was coming up. I was sure I was going to win, after the way the team had worked for me in those final kilometres, I really couldn’t have done otherwise.”
Saturday’s stage is a 26 kilometre time trial starting and finishing in Friedberg which will almost certainly decide the overall classification. The race finishes on Sunday in Gunzenhausen with another fairly flat stage.
“I’ve got the points jersey now and on the last day’s stage I’ll try to defend it,” Greipel said. “But if there’s another break and we’ve got one of our guys in it, then that’s fine, too.”
Following a bad crash in January and a four-month recovery period, Bayern is only Greipel’s second race back, and he’s proving that he’s remained in very good shape.
“I don’t think I’m hungrier for the wins because of such a long period away. It’s more that I promised myself and the team I’d come back in as good a condition as I was when I crashed. The team trusts me, you can see that by the way they work for me in the sprints, and I try to honour that trust.”