Sprinter André Greipel and his Columbia-HTC teammates are aiming for a strong season finish at the Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours Classics in France this week. The two races take place on October 8 and October 11 respectively.
"Paris-Tours suits me better than Paris-Bourges, although it's so flat you've got to be careful because the cross-winds can make a big difference very quickly," said Greipel of his chances in the two events. "If it comes down to a bunch sprint, I'm in good shape and I'll give it the best I can."
Greipel, who has acheived 19 victories already in 2009, has particularly high hopes for this year's Paris-Tours - a true French Classic and a sprinter's delight scheduled for this Sunday. Although the German doesn't have fond memories of his previous participation in the race, he'll aim for the highest result once again.
"I've only done this race once before, back in 2006, and it wasn't great. An early break went and got such a big advantage the rest of us in the bunch had to abandon [Frédéric Guesdon won - ed.]. This time around we'll be watching the breaks very closely, and we'll try to get someone in whichever move gets away," said a confident Greipel
"In a tough Classic like Paris-Tours, only the strongest sprinters are there at the end. But I know with my teammates, I can count on being in the right place at the right time."
Columbia-HTC sports director Tristan Hoffman is also looking forward to guiding the squad at the two events, hoping for another success after a long season. "Everybody's a bit tired which is normal for this time of year," said Hoffman. "But I know our team is really motivated, particularly guys like André and of course Bernie [Eisel] who won Paris-Bourges last year. At this point in the season, that's what matters the most."
Greipel and Eisel will be supported by nearly the same teammates in both races, with Morris Possoni joining the line-up in Paris-Bourges and Michael Barry completing the squad in Paris-Tours four days later.
Columbia-HTC for Paris-Bourges (Oct 8): Edvald Boasson Hagen, Gert Dockx, Bernhard Eisel, Andre Greipel, Morris Possoni, Frantisek Rabon, Vicente Reynes.
Columbia-HTC for Paris-Tours (Oct 11): Michael Barry, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Gert Dockx, Bernhard Eisel, Andre Greipel, Frantisek Rabon, Vicente Reynes.
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