The German sprinter took eight wins this season, including a stage in his debut Tour de France, but his own ambitions often had to take second place to those of the rampant Gilbert. Although Greipel feels that he passed up a number of victories, he acknowledged that Gilbert’s form meant that the team was justified in working for him.
“Without Gilbert I might have won 15 races,” Greipel told Wielerrevue.nl. “But then he could win anywhere, so we had to ride in his service, and if he didn’t succeed, I could still try in the sprint.”
With Gilbert moving to BMC next year, Greipel is confident that he will have more opportunities to chase his own wins as part of the new Lotto-Ridley set-up, with Milan-San Remo his major early-season objective.
Greipel made a belated debut in La Primavera in 2011, but he sacrificed himself for Gilbert by leading the chase behind a dangerous four-man break between the Cipressa and the Poggio.
“Next year I will set the bar even higher,” Greipel said. “Another win in a big stage race would be nice and I see Milan-San Remo as a big target. That race suits my characteristics.”
Greipel’s campaign will get underway at the Tour Down Under, where he has twice tasted overall victory, in 2008 and 2010. “I will start 2012 at the Tour Down Under, one of my favourite races,” he said. “That race has made me the rider I am today.”
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