André Greipel is one of three riders who have won the Tour Down Under twice but the Lotto-Belisol sprinter doesn't see another overall victory on the horizon. ''It will not happen that I win it another time because it's always getting harder and harder," he told the Australian press upon arriving in Australia. "Hopefully we can start the season like we always do and get an early win."
Greipel won the Tour Down Under in 2008 and 2010 and he is the record holder with 14 stage wins in five editions of the race. When it comes to the overall, however, Greipel sees more opportunities for his teammate Adam Hansen. "He did good training during the [northern] winter and he's always motivated in the only race in Australia so, if his mind is OK, I think he can be top-10."
Hansen is also an important part of the Lotto-Belisol lead-out train. His colleague Greg Henderson can't start because of knee surgery in December. It will be the first time Henderson misses the Tour Down Under since 2008 and the New Zealander will be replaced by Jens Debusschere. Together with Jurgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Debusschere, Greipel hopes to get an early win under his belt. Rookie Stig Broekx and Olivier Kaisen complete the Lotto-Belisol team.
"I always say in the early season, you never know what is going to happen, how everybody is, how the legs are," said Greipel. "The off-season was good. Now we have to start working again and hopefully we [Lotto Belisol] can start the season like we always do and get an early win.
"The plan is to stay healthy and get the kilometres in the legs. And if the condition is OK and it works out, it's always nice to have an early win.''