It will be only his second time in the race, and his first as captain there. During his years at HTC-Highroad, he had to stay behind Mark Cavendish in the pecking order, and in his first start in Milan last year, Philippe Gilbert was the Lotto captain. Now it is the 29-year-old German's turn.
The most important thing for a sprinter at Milan-San Remo “is to be at the front when we hit the Poggio,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “If I don't have any problems getting over the climbs, then I think I can sprint for the win.”
He is confident and has planned well for the race. “I pulled out of Tirreno-Adriatico to get some extra rest. I already have six victories in my pocket. The confidence is there. The condition is good. If I recuperate from the hard Tirreno I will be there.”
Greipel opened the season by winning the Cancer Council Helpline Classic in Australia before going on to take four stages at the Tour Down Under and two at the Tour of Oman. He has not scored since then, which team manager Herman Frison said may be because he is “too nice.”
"I am indeed not a sprinter who pushes and pulls, but is that necessary? When I see other guys, sometimes I think they are crazy,” Greipel said. “If I am pushed toward a barrier, I'm on the brakes and not going for the smallest hole. I would not fall.”
Not all riders think of their safety, Greipel notes, and he feels that the rider who takes the most risks “must surely be (Peter) Sagan. He is still young and sometimes crazy. That is the difference between younger and older riders.”
There is no point in trying to address the issue with Sagan, Greipel said. "He does not speak English. What can I tell him? I've tried. He does some stupid things in the sprint. That's not smart, but it is so. "