Andre Greipel (Omega-Pharma Lotto) could only manage fifteenth in the Cancer Council Classic in Adelaide but ahead of the Santos Tour Down under isn't worried about being beaten by Australian sprinters Matt Goss, Mark Renshaw and Robbie McEwen.
The German was handicapped by a crash that involved last year’s winner Greg Henderson.
“Quite often in the last corner it’s a bit crazy,” Greipel said.
“I don’t know who is responsible for the crash but it’s not significant. Today I’ve seen my team working a lot for me, they’ve already showed the confidence they have in my sprinting.”
“We knew these guys had ridden the Jayco Bay Crits and a few other races in Australia before the Tour Down Under”, Greipel’s new team-mate from Omega Pharma-Lotto Olivier Kaisen said.
“We’ve done a lot at the front but the Australian sprinters came from behind and they had more speed than us. But in the days to come, the sprints will be different. A few of them are uphill like the end of stage 1 in Angaston. Andre will be more at ease in those finishes. He also didn’t win the opening crit last year.”
In 2010, Greipel was third behind Henderson and Sutton when the new Team Sky were keen to start well. But the German is confident that he is approaching the Santos Tour Down Under in the same state of form as last year. “The race looks a bit different this time,” he said.
“Last year it was nice in the climbs when Cadel Evans attacked and Peter Sagan as well. We’ve seen the great season Sagan had after that. This year it’s more about the ten top sprinters lining up here. There will be fast finals with lead out trains. I’ve brought to Omega Pharma-Lotto three guys from HTC, Adam Hansen, Vicente Reynes and Marcel Sieberg who have been important for me in the past.”
“For the Tour Down Under, the Australians look good but also JJ Haedo and [Francesco] Chicchi.” Greipel added. “I’ll find out in the next few days what the condition is. It’s not been easy with the snow to train in Europe. Every year I try to improve."