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Andre Greipel chases back on from the caravan
German on par with his efforts of 2011 season
Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) had a few nervous moments before coming out on top in the bunch sprint to conclude stage 1 of the Tour of Luxembourg. The German's victory was his 11th of the season so far – the most of any rider in the UCI ProTour.
Greipel has now equalled his efforts of 2011. MTN Qhubeka's Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg has also taken 11 wins.
A late attack by Jens Voigt had his compatriot worried. The RadioShack-Nissan hard-man had an advantage of three minutes with around 16 kilometres in the 181km stage remaining.
"We were quite afraid of Jens because he is such a strong rider," Greipel said following his victory. "The team's goal was to win a stage and I did that. We'll see what tomorrow brings."
Voigt meanwhile, relished the effect his escape had on the peloton.
"It felt like the good ol' days with Jensie off the front, everyone chasing from behind, people hating me because I'm attacking all the time…….It was beautiful," he said. "Like I always say: 'It's better to be on the giving end of pain rather than on the receiving end'."
Greipel is building up for an assault on the Tour de France and then the Olympic Games. Remarkably he won his first stage at the Tour last year when he outsprinted former teammate Mark Cavendish. His season began with a dominant performance at the Santos Tour Down Under where he won three stages plus the lead-up criterium, the Down Under Classic. Greipel then followed with two wins at the Tour of Oman. A victory over Matt Goss at the Tour of Turkey was next, before a he won three of the six stages at the Tour of Belgium.