André Greipel has hailed his Lotto Belisol lead-out train as the best in the business after he beat his eternal rival Mark Cavendish (Sky) in the sprint on stage two of the Ster ZLM Toer in Schimmert on Friday.
The German rider’s 13th win of the season continues a rich streak of early summer form which has seen him take a clutch of stage victories at the Tour of Belgium and Tour of Luxembourg.
“I’m increasingly convinced that we’re going to have the fastest lead-out train at the Tour de France,” Greipel told De Telegraaf. “I have Jürgen Roelandts and Greg Henderson as my last men, and we’re getting more and more attuned to one another.”
With morale already on a high following his recent haul of wins, Greipel admitted that his confidence had received an additional boost from beating the world champion Cavendish. At last year’s Tour de France, Cavendish won five stages to Greipel’s one, but the German is hopeful that he can get the better of his former HTC-Highroad teammate more often this July.
“I knew I was going well, but to beat Cavendish in a direct duel strengthens the confidence of the whole team,” Greipel said.
Greipel’s thoughts were echoed by manager Marc Sergeant, who will also bring podium contender Jurgen Van Den Broeck to the Tour. “A win brings confidence within the team, a good atmosphere and happy sponsors,” he said.
For his part, Cavendish had some consolation for his second place on Friday as it was enough to elevate him into the overall lead, albeit in the same time as Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) and Greipel. The Ster ZLM Toer concludes on Sunday.