World Championships: Q and A with Andre Greipel

Bronze medallist in 2011, the German sprinter co-leads a strong team with John Degenkolb

Cyclingnews: Why did you opt for the Tour of Britain over the Vuelta a Espana as you built up towards the Worlds?

Andre Greipel: I wanted an intense block of racing, but not too long, so I decided to opt for this race. The stages are all fairly tough and with six-man teams it makes the racing even harder and more unpredictable. I haven’t ridden it for a few seasons [since 2010] and I know it was hard then, but other riders told me that last year’s race was very tough and that they came out of it with good form for the Worlds, and that’s what I’m hoping for.

CN: Did you come to the Tour of Britain with any other goals or was it purely with the Worlds in mind?

AG: My objective at the Tour of Britain has been to stay away from problems and, of course, complete the final preparations for the World Championships. I wasn’t coming here targeting stage wins. You could see that on a couple of stages I was actually working for my teammate Jens Debusschere, doing the job that others usually do for me by keeping him out of the wind. I did sprint one day after doing that [on stage 4 into Blyth] and the work I’d done took the edge off my finishing speed. That extra work made the race a little tougher still, which I think was useful. Having managed to avoid any problems, I think my condition is good as I prepare to head over to the United States.

CN: What’s the strategy for the German team?

AG: We’ll have two cards to play, myself and John Degenkolb. The rest of the team will get behind the two of us. I think we have a really strong team, and the key will be for us to work together as much as we can so that either John or myself are in a good position in the final. I think that this year and next year we’ve got a really good chance to get the rainbow jersey on a German rider’s shoulders, and we’ll be going all out to achieve that.

CN: What do you know about the course?

AG: Like everyone else just about, all I know about the circuit before travelling to the United States comes from having looked at it on Google Earth. It looks a hard circuit, but not so hard that a sprinter can’t win. I don’t think the winning group will be very big, not like what we saw when I finished third in Copenhagen in 2011, but I’ll go there hoping to make an impact.

CN: This has been your best season as a pro, the highlight being your four stage wins at the Tour de France. Would victory at the Worlds make it something of a dream season?

AG: I don’t think it would change things for me all that much. I’m already happy with the career I’ve had. Of course it is a dream to win the World Championship, but I don’t think it would alter my career all that much.

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