The PRO season (finally!) got underway last week with the Santos Tour Down Under, which just wrapped up on Saturday night (that would be Sunday morn for those of you on the other side of the date line). If the opening week of racing can tell you anything, its that Andre Greipel is gunning for the Manx Missile.
Though one could contest the wisdom of being in top form for the first race of the year, you can’t deny the fact that Greipel had a great week. It seems that he will benefit from being on a team that’s built around his powerful sprint.
Historically, the man also known as The Gorilla has always done well during the first week of the season. Taking the overall twice. He didn’t have much choice during his HTC – Highroad days, since it was about the only time he was guaranteed the dedication of HTC’s magnificent lead out train.
What we saw down under was a fitter, leaner Gorilla who made every sprint look like a cake walk. At the end of nearly every finish Greipel was protected by at least three riders. All the while Team Sky’s Evald Boasson Hagen and Garmin-Barracuda’s Heinrich Haussler were often left looking for a good wheel in the final meters (it needs to be noted that Boasson Hagen won the Sprinter’s Jersey)
The lack of other team’s dominance in the sprint doesn’t mean that they won’t be there when it really matters, and if we’re being honest the Tour Down Under is a training race and therefore…. All that being said Greipel does have time to win some races, build his confidence and peak again for when it does matter.
Which is to say: IN PARIS.
Of course, he could be showing us that he has his eye on another race that matters: Milan-San Remo.
For so long Gorilla Greipel has had to live in the shadow of Cavendish that a big win against the World Champ would show the world that he’s capable besting the “fastest man on two wheels”, and not just running his mouth about how everyone is against him.