André Greipel claimed he lost the sprint finish in the Tour de France today because team managers failed to warn him about a cobbled section in the sprint finale – but his team manager questioned whether they were cobbles at all.
The Lotto-Belisol sprinter finished second to Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) on stage 10 to Saint-Malo. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) finished third and was accused of causing a crash, which he denied.
Appearing calm after the finale Greipel, said, “I didn’t know that there are cobblestones at the end. I was full gas in this last corner and my back wheel was bouncing. I had to sit down…for sure I lost 3, 4km per hour and I lost it. I had 100m to go and I don’t know how many bike lengths.”
Asked if he wasn’t briefed correctly, he told reporters, “You can say this.”
Outside the team bus, Lotto-Belisol team manager Marc Sergeant confirmed that his riders hadn’t been warned about the section, but said, “What was there wasn’t cobblestones,” and suggested it was a smaller type paver. "I haven’t spoken with André so I don’t know what to say, but we lost – that’s disappointing."
Sergeant struck a concessionary note too. “If that is the reason that we lost – the cobblestones – that’s our mistake. But we thought at 60km/h – 70km/h maybe – it takes you three seconds to go over those 60m. Hopefully we’ll have revenge in two or three days.”
In the winners’ press conference, Kittel said “I did know that there were cobblestones and I think it’s for everyone the same.”
Greipel has already won a stage in this year’s Tour – stage 6 into Montpellier.