André Greipel may have come up short against the renewed vigour of Mark Cavendish while racing at the Tour of Turkey this week but the veteran German intends to continue fighting for sprint victories until planned retirement in 2022 when he will turn 40.
"I have always said that when my age starts with a four, I won't sit on the bike any more. That is a goal which I will uphold," Greipel said in a video profile with the German magazine Saarländische Rundfunk.
Even if another team comes begging, the now 38-year-old to sign, he insists he will not take an offer. "I wouldn't accept it. Definitely not."
However, Greipel would like to have some role in the sport which has brought him so much success over 18 years.
"I would like to do something in cycling and pass on my experience to young riders," he says.
Although he is three years older, Greipel became a sort of understudy to Cavendish when the Manxman was in his Grand Tour winning prime. Cavendish came to the same T-Mobile team as a trainee in 2006 and quickly made a name for himself as sprinter, winning the Scheldeprijs and getting selected for the Tour de France team in his first full year in 2007.
The two were teammates and rivals at Team Columbia-HTC, and, as Cavendish quickly became a Tour de France star, Greipel led the team's sprint efforts in the other Grand Tours and won stages in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España – including four stages and the points classification at the Spanish Grand Tour in 2009.
Whereas Cavendish's Tour de France candle shone brightly with 30 stages between 2008 and 2016, Greipel's career has been a more steady burn. After being eclipsed by his younger teammate, it took leaving for the Lotto team in 2011 before he could complete his Grand Tour collection. Greipel has since won 11 Tour de France stages in addition to seven in the Giro and four in the Vuelta and a slew of other victories.
Greipel may not match Cavendish's 48 Grand Tour stage wins but he is the active rider with the most career victories at 156 compared to the Manxman's 148.
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