Andre Greipel said that his victory in stage 6 of the Tour de France today demonstrated Lotto-Belisol's fighting spirit after being hit with news that their GC rider had abandoned through injury. The Belgian team learned this morning that general classification hope Jurgen Van den Broeck had abandoned because of injuries caused in a pile-up yesterday.
"Happiness and sadness can be so close together," said Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) after his win.
"I think this shows the character we have in this team - and obviously also the horsepower."
It was also case of third time lucky for Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol). After being held up with a mechanical on stage 1 and experiencing problems with his sprint train into Marseille yesterday, the team finally managed to bring the race under control in the closing kilometres of the race.
About 2km from the line, the well-drilled line of Lotto-Belisol riders passed the flagging Argos-Shimano train and left Greipel in the perfect position to battle with the top sprinters at this year's race. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) finished second, Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) third, and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), forced to chase back on after a crash with 30km to go, was fourth.
Greipel's success - the fifth Tour stage victory of his career - also fires up the contest for the green jersey. Greipel won the intermediate sprint in Maussane-Les-Alpilles to move him to within 30 points of the current jersey holder Sagan.
"I think like everybody could see in the intermediate sprint, I went for the points, so I still see a chance to get green and we'll still fight for it," he said.
Tomorrow's stage into Albi will be the last opportunity for sprinters before the race enters the Pyrenees on Saturday.