Greipel can't fulfill birthday wish of fourth 2012 Tour de France stage win

Andre Greipel had hoped to celebrate his 30th birthday Monday with a sprint win in Pau in the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France. However, an escape group was allowed to get away and the German won only the sprint of the field for seventh place, nearly 12 minutes behind stage winner Pierrick Fedrigo of FDJ-Big Mat.

Meanwhile, a spat developed between Lotto Belisol and Orica-GreenEdge about whether or not the two sprinter teams should help one another.

“It was impossible to control the field. There was nothing to do against Voeckler and co.,” Greipel told the dapd news agency. “I couldn't expect my guys to sacrifice everything.”

The team met with little to no help from the other teams, who appeared to feel no need to help Greipel win. After the day's escape group got away, Lotto planned to chase and catch them at the end, but the rest of the peloton didn't agree.

“Suddenly Sky rested their legs and GreenEdge didn't do anything either. I couldn't understand that,” said Greipel's teammate and good friend Marcel Sieberg. He is one of three ill riders on the team, and “we didn't want to sacrifice all our strength.”

The spat between Lotto  and GreenEdge became public after the stage. Both Matthew Goss and Greipel would have had a chance to win the mass sprint, but it didn't come to be.

The Australian team “didn't help to cut the gap to the escape group,” criticized Sieberg, according to

“There are days when Lotto didn't help us either,” retorted Goss. “We speculated that the peloton would catch up.”

Goss, meanwhile, was still dealing with his virtual loss of chances to win the points competition. The race jury deducted 30 points from his account for hindering Peter Sagan in the sprint of the  field in the twelfth stage. “It is bitter to have all your chances for the green jersey taken away by such a decision.”

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