André Greipel won his first WorldTour race of the year at Paris-Nice ahead Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), shaking off all symptoms of the illness he started the race with. After celebrating win number two of the season, Greipel dedicated the victory to his mother.
"I'd like to give this victory to my mother, she has a very hard time at the moment. Don't give up," he told letour.fr
The win is Greipel's first at Paris-Nice and fist win on French soil since stage 6 of last year's Tour de France victory.
"It's important to win for the first time on Paris-Nice," he said. "It's a big race with some of the best sprinters in the peloton. Yesterday, we really didn't take part in the sprint. Today we wanted to do it better It's a team work, I win with them and I lose with them. So I was glad I was able to deliver today.
"Paris-Nice is a big race. Every victory is important, but a victory in a WorldTour race like here is very nice for the team and me. Yesterday all went wrong what could go wrong, and the whole team was determined to set things straight today."
Inside the final 10km of the stage, compatriot Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) launched an attack which drew out Lars Boom (Astana) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) from the peloton with the trio disrupting the sprint trains on the flat run into Saint Amond Montrond. Greipel praised the efforts of his team to reel in the breakaway and then judge the headwind correctly to deliver him to victory and Lotto-Soudal's seventh win of 2015.
"It was a different sprint preparation than usual because of the attack of Martin, Thomas and Boom, but thanks to the reaction of Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens we maintained a good position," he said. "We came to the front with more than three kilometres to go, Orica-GreenEdge obviously had a plan, but we got in their slipstream with 800 metres to go. I was afraid that Greg Henderson began the sprint too early with the headwind, but I could take over and leave the rest behind me.
"The entire team rode a marvellous sprint and we achieved a goal by winning this stage."
Stage three is another day suited to the sprinters although Greipel explained the team has already met its expectations for the eight day race on the flat with its focus now on the overall.
"Tomorrow could be another chance but we already achieved our goal in this Paris-Nice with this stage win and we also have GC ambitions with Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens," he added.
Greipel's racing programme this season has seen the German national champion take a different approach to previous seasons with a full classics schedule before returning to the Giro d'Italia for the first time since 2010.