Germany’s André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) has released his 2015 race program as far as the Giro d’Italia, a race the sprinting star last tackled in 2010. Cycling’s most prolific winner of 2014 will start his season in the Challenge Mallorca on Thursday.
The 32-year-old racked up 16 wins last year, including a stage of the Tour de France, a stage of the Eneco Tour, two stages in the Tour Down Under, Paris-Brussels and the national road-race title. His Belgian Classics campaign, though, was wrecked by an injury in Ghent-Wevelgem that meant he could only return to racing at the Tour of Turkey.
Greipel has already missed out on the Tour Down Under, where he holds the record for stage wins - 16. He will also avoid all of the Middle Eastern races in February, where he won a stage of the Tour of Qatar and three in the Tour of Oman last year. Instead rather than kicking off in Australia, the Lotto Soudal pro has opted for a slightly later start to the season at Mallorca, which he last raced in 2010, winning the final day’s racing from Magalluf to Palmanova.
Greipel’s next races are very much in line with a traditional build-up towards the Spring Classics: Vuelta al Algarve, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Paris-Nice before taking on all of the top events in Italy, Belgium and France. Milan-Sanremo precedes Ghent-Wevelgem, Three Days of De Panne, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and the Giro d’Italia. Perhaps the only surprise is the absence of Scheldeprijs, a home race for Greipel’s Belgian squad and which seems suited to his talents.
After a break of nearly a month following Paris-Roubaix, Greipel returns to racing at the Giro d’Italia. One of a handful of riders with victories in all three Grand Tours, Greipel last took part in Italy’s premier race in 2010, taking the second Giro stage win of his career. From there he will go onto the Tour de France, making 2015 the first time in his decade long career that he has raced in two Grand Tours.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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