Sprinting on the Champs-Élysées is something else. It is that last burst of power after 21 days of tough racing in the biggest cycling race in the world. It is that last chance to claim a very important stage victory while millions of people are watching live on television. It is that memory of winning in the city center of Paris that keeps André Greipel hungry. Hungry for racing his 11th Tour de France.
“I am proud to be part of this line-up, especially given the other strong riders in this team.”
Since 2011, his first Tour de France, André Greipel has not missed a single Tour. Eleven times he could celebrate over and after the finish line of a stage. From last year’s edition however, the German sprinter does not have many great memories, after having crashed severely in the wet and very slippery opening stage in Nice.
Seventeen stages Greipel kept going, trying to recover from the injuries sustained in that unfortunate moment in Nice. On the eighteenth day he could not hold on anymore, missing out on a chance of reliving his memories from 2015 and 2016 of winning on the Champs-Élysées.
He decided after that particular Grand Boucle to focus on the Giro d’Italia in 2021. However, after a sequence of events, Greipel finds himself in the Tour-squad once again.
“Not quite as planned beforehand,” Greipel says, “but not less fun. I feel very well in shape at the moment. I am ready for an 11th Tour de France.”
This season, we saw Greipel putting his arms in the air again in Spain. He won one of the races on Mallorca, then headed to the Ruta del Sol where he celebrated with ease in stage 4, after separating himself by multiple bike lengths from the runner-up.
The Tour de Suisse meant the German’s final preparation towards the Tour de France, where he will be Israel Start-Up Nation’s sprinter for the flat stages. He can rely on the full support of his teammates to chase a third stage victory this season.
One of those flat stages is, traditionally, the very final day in the Tour de France, and pretty much the most important day in a sprinter’s life: the final stretch on the Champs-Élysées. The feelings and emotions he remembers from those two experiences are a big motivation to go back to the Tour de France once again.
“Winning in Paris is something so special”, Greipel says. “Sprinting to a victory on the Champs-Élysées, the very last few hundred meters of the biggest cycling race in the world, is incomparable with any other sprint. That feeling is what drives me most.”