Andre Greipel of Team Columbia-HTC won the final stage of the Tour of Poland after missing out on earlier stages of the race. The win means he has 15 victories for the year so far; one more than he had all of last season. His total this year is made even more significant after he missed four and a half months due to shoulder surgery earlier this year.
The German sprinter finished second, sixth and third in the first three mass sprints in Poland. He toldCyclingnews that the missed opportunities were purely his own fault. "Although the team worked really well, I made beginner's mistakes, like being in a bad position or going into the wind too early. I wanted to make it all perfect."
In addition, on the fourth stage, after finishing second in the sprint, he was relegated to last place, for an incident involving Quick Step's Alan Davis. Greipel acknowledged his guilt and apologized to the Australian.
Greipel started the season by winning the first stage of the Tour Down Under, but left the race after colliding with a motorcycle in the third stage. The injury to his shoulder required surgery and a long recuperation. However, he returned in May to the Four Days of Dunkirk. There he won the final stage, and went on to win the next 13 mass sprints that he faced.
That streak was broken in Poland. "For one thing, my sprint rivals were very strong," he said. "And sometime I had to lose another sprint. Places two and three aren't really so bad."
Overall, the race was satisfactory, as he won one stage and teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen not only won two stages but also finished third overall. "We made our impression on the race. There is nothing to complain about."
The next race for the 27-year-old is the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg on August 16. The north German race generally ends in a mass sprint, and "we will of course try to win there." From there he heads south, to the Vuelta a España. Is he casting an eye on the sprinter's jersey? "I will of course try to win a stage, anything else is a bonus."