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Sergeant downplays talk of strife within the team

By:
Daniel Benson & Pierre Carrey
Published:
July 07, 2011, 22:56 BST,
Updated:
July 08, 2011, 7:14 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 8, 2011
Race:
Tour de France
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) remains atop the points classification.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) remains atop the points classification.

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Omega Pharma DS must juggle ambitions of Gilbert and Co

Philippe Gilbert and his manager Marc Sergeant have played down talk of discontent within the Omega Pharma-Lotto team at the Tour de France after Jurgen Van Den Broeck and André Greipel had both publicly voiced negative opinions.

La Dernière Heure-Les Sports reported today there was misunderstanding between Gilbert and Jurgen Van Den Broeck on stage 4 to Mûr-de-Bretagne as the latter decided to launch his own attack in the uphill finish, and then more friction with André Greipel who expected Gilbert's support in the sprint to Cap Frehel on Wednesday.

Greipel had crossed the line saying, “this is not a team.” Gilbert had countered, saying: “Everybody will get his chance in the team”, suggesting he doesn't want to be the sole leader and that Van Den Broeck, Greipel and the others will get the team's support in the coming days.

At the finish of stage 6 Sergeant was also quick to play down any friction between his three leaders.

"I'm happy because we’ve had a great season and a great race so. We’ve worn all the jerseys so far and we’ve still got the green jersey,” he told Cyclingnews.

When asked about what Greipel had meant with his comments, Sergeant countered: “That was a lot of adrenaline and maybe in his mind he was disappointed with how things went but that’s the Tour. You can plan all you want but the Tour throws that all out of the window and you have to deal with that.

“Gilbert admitted that he was wrong and he apologised to Jurgen too. He wanted the win but didn’t have the legs and so he said he was sorry. That’s in the past!"

With a GC contender in Van Den Broeck, the man of the moment in Gilbert and a sprinter that has flattered to deceive in Greipel, Sergeant will have to juggle three egos and ambitions over the coming two weeks as the team aims to fight on a number of fronts. At the finish of stage 6 and with Gilbert still in green – albeit by one point – he chose to remain calm.

“We talked about it over dinner and we have a debriefing every night. All the riders were all laughing and joking in the evening and in the morning too. I’m not concerned with what has happened before and we’re in a good position for the rest of the race.”

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