By Susan Westemeyer
Germany's André Greipel of Team Columbia had originally planned to leave the Eneco Tour early so that he could prepare for the Deutschland Tour. However having won the leader's jersey on stage four his focus shifted and he rode the race to the end.
"I rode into the leader's jersey thanks to my escape attempt," Greipel said to Cyclingnews. He won the rain-soaked second stage to move up into fourth place and took over the jersey after the fourth stage, when during a long breakaway, he picked up enough bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints to take the lead. He held on to the jersey until the final stage, losing it in the end to last year's winner Iván Gutierrez of Caisse d'Epargne.
"I didn't plan that, naturally, because actually I wanted, with the team's agreement, to leave the Eneco Tour early," he continued. "But for me it was a question of honour, to continue to support the team and to use our tactical advantage of having the lead.
"I came to the Eneco Tour to win a stage – and thank God, I was able to accomplish that with the help of my team, on which I can always rely 100 percent. We have a super sprint train and everyone is willing to do the dirty work for each other. You can see the results of this in the team's success."
Greipel went into the final stage leading by 11 seconds but dropped to fifth overall. "It wasn't enough for the overall win. But we are nevertheless happy that we have one rider on the podium in Michael Rogers." Rogers finished third overall after coming in fourth in the time trial.
Greipel started the 2008 season in a spectacular fashion, dominating the Tour Down Under to take the first ProTour leader's jersey of the year. He went on to win stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia and won stages in the Osterreich-Rundfahrt and the Sachsen Tour.