André Greipel made it win number 14 of the season with victory on stage 2 at the Eneco Tour in Breda ahead of Jacopo Guarnieri (Katusha) and Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep). The win was Greipel's first since victory on the Champs-Élysées on the final day of the Tour de France last month.
After the 180km stage, Greipel explained that he and his Lotto Soudal teammates remained calm throughout the day, atoning for stage 1 when the former German champion hit early but faded to fourth.
"Today’s stage was quite relaxed, with only two riders in front," Greipel said. "We had a plan. Maybe it was a bit too early to come to the front for us, but it turned out Stig Broeckx, Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot were strong enough to keep us in front till three kilometres to go. Then we could rely on the experience of Marcel Sieberg, Greg Henderson and Jürgen Roelandts.
Greipel added the win was a relief after the previous day's efforts when it went awry on the road.
"Afterwards Jens Debusschere took over and I finished it off. It was a great team effort, the guys nearly carried me to the line. There was a bit of a headwind and the team really made the difference, I’m grateful to the guys. Yesterday we also tried to win. I didn’t need to get back in the rhythm after the rest I took after the Tour, it just didn’t work out."
Greipel enjoyed his best ever Tour de France in July, netting four stage wins and finishing second in the point classification and demonstrated in Breda both his form and class with his seventh career Eneco Tour stage win. The 33-year-old explained that he is already contemplating back-to-back stage wins but added that he expects the remaining sprint finishes to be tight affairs with a packed field of fast men sure to try and halt his winning ways.
"The competition is really strong here at the Eneco Tour," he said. "Tomorrow’s [stage 3] another opportunity with the stage to Ardooie, where I already won in 2011 and 2010. I’m second on GC, but I don’t think about taking over the leader’s jersey. I now wear the points jersey, but there are some really hard stages still coming up, we’ll see if I can hang on to that one."