Former World champion bronze medallist Andre Greipel has lambasted the national German selectors ahead of the Doha Worlds, which represents what is likely to be the Lotto Soudal's rider's last chance for a rainbow jersey. The sprint-friendly parcours suits the characteristics of the fast man, as it does compatriot and rival Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep).
"It's incomprehensible that the union has not made a choice," Greipel is reported as saying.
Complicating the situation is that Germany only qualified six riders for the road race. Regardless of who is chosen, it appears that John Degenkolb will be a back-up, with the Giant-Alpecin rider offering a fast finish after 250km plus of racing as he's proven at Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix. However, either Greipel or Kittel will lead the line in what is expected to be a bunch sprint finish.
Greipel has won 10 races this season, including three stages of the Giro d'Italia and one at the Tour de France. In comparison, Kittel won two stages of the Giro d'Italia before abandoning the race. He added a ninth career Tour win to his palmares in July. The 28-year-old is slightly ahead of Greipel on the win count in 2016, with 12 victories so far.
Greipel previously told the DPA news agency "it would be counter-productive to go there with two captains" and wants confirmation that he will be the rider that Germany rides for. He reiterated his point to Het Nieuwsblad that it's best for everyone to know sooner rather than later.
"I don't understand the union at all. I want to prepare as well as possible at the World Championship, but I'm not sure I will go. I cannot even plan my trip," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "For Marcel is that exactly the same. This is just a very awkward situation for both of us."
The decision is made delicate by the fact that national coach Jan Schaffrath is an Etixx-QuickStep employee during the season. He has requested that Cannondale-Drapac director sportif Andreas Klier make the final decision, before a four-man panel that includes vice-president Udo Sprenger and Patrick Moster sign off.
Of the two, Greipel has more experience racing the World Championships. He made his Worlds debut in 2008 and rode the next three editions before missing the 2012 and 2013 Worlds, which weren't suited to his characteristics. He returned with the German team to ride the last two editions of the Worlds. From his six starts, Greipel has finished three times, with third place in 2011 his best result yet.
The only senior Worlds that Kittel has ridden was in 2011, when he finished over nine minutes down on gold medallist Mark Cavendish of Great Britain.
Heinz Müller, in 1952, and Rudi Altig, in 1966, are the only German riders to win the elite men's road race.
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