André Greipel has no intention of retiring at the end of 2020, despite the 37-year-old's contract expiring in December. The German joined Israel Start-Up Nation at the start of the year on a one-year deal but after fracturing his shoulder in February and then facing in lockdown in Germany, he has not raced since the Tour Down Under.
Racing is set to resume in August and although Greipel is still going through rehabilitation on his shoulder he is making his way back to full fitness.
“I’m still busy with rehab and that’s still ongoing. I’m riding outside now, which isn’t a problem, but the rehab will last another month or so. The shoulder isn’t bothering me that much but I want to be sure that I’ve got the full force back,” Greipel told Cyclingnews.
“We’d all like to do some racing but we know right now that there are some more important things in life. It would be nice to start racing again in August but right now I can’t confirm my calendar.”
Greipel joined Israel Start-Up Nation after just one year on Arkea-Samsic. He was signed to lead the Israeli team’s sprint squad but after a promising start at the Tour Down Under, he was forced to the sidelines with his injury. Although he will be 38 in July, the 11-time Tour de France stage winner will look to continue his career into 2021. The distinguished sprinter is well aware that he only have a few seasons left in his legs but he wants to end his time in the peloton in a fitting manner.
“This hasn’t been the season we wanted but hopefully I’ll still see myself in the bunch next year. I’d like to finish my career after a full season, so a nice Classics campaign and then hopefully another Tour de France. I want to go out in a nice way.”
Greipel has used his time out of competition to help spread awareness of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease), a disease that touched his family personally. He has been a campaigner and fundraiser for several years and has recently created the 'Ride Around the World' challenge for World Bicycle Day on June 3, which will feature a goal of trying to rack up the kilometres to circumnavigate the earth (approximately 40,075km). The challenge will run for four days thereafter.
“We’re always keen to do something for ALS research. We want to make an impact on awareness and then I came up with this Strava idea. I know the Strava guys in Germany quite well and that’s where the story came from.”
Katusha Sport - who supply kit for Israel Start Up Nation - have come on board and helped Greipel design and the produce limited edition kit for the event. Proceeds from the sales will fund vital research into ALS, which has no cure.
“Katusha Sport were able to come on board with the nice jersey and thanks to them 15 per cent of the kit sales goes into ALS research. The kit can be ordered now and it’s available from July 1. The coronavirus pandemic has shown that there are a lot of at risk groups and we’re trying to draw awareness to that, and remind everyone should follow the guidelines and rules.”
The Greipel Fight ALS kit range is available via Katusha Sports now, with jerseys retailing at €70, bib shorts at €90 and race caps at €15. The 'Ride Around the World' Strava challenge goes live on June 3 and will remain available to compete in for four days.
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