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Greipel impressed by Omega Pharma-Lotto team

André Greipel says that he is highly impressed with his new Omega Pharma-Lotto team and is confident that he will be able to maintain a run of success that has seen him win 55 races during the past three seasons.

The German sprinter joined his new squad last week for a three-day team building get together in Marche-en-Famenne, in the Belgian Ardennes.

“My first impressions of the team are pretty good. Obviously it’s a new team to me. In fact we’ve got 15 new riders because the sponsors wanted to have a whole new team. Consequently, the team building was extremely important,” Greipel told Cyclingnews.

“It was important to get the team together as soon as possible. We did some good events together, climbing, lots of activities that were designed to boost teamwork, and some brainstorming. For example, they took us out into the forest and divided us into two groups – one that had a map and the other that didn’t and the objective was to find each other. I really enjoyed it.”

The more serious task of preparing for next season’s sprints against the likes of Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar and Alessandro Petacchi will start when Greipel attends Omega Pharma’s first training camp in Majorca next week. Greipel is confident his new squad will be able to hold its own in the big sprint finishes.

“I wouldn’t have left HTC if I didn’t think that the team had the resources to provide me with a very powerful lead-out train,” he stated. “We’ll have to wait until the first race to see how we all gel together, but the team is shaping up exactly how I want it.”

New, bigger objectives for 2011

As well as getting used to a new team, the German revealed that his programme for the coming season will also be substantially different. “It’s going to be an interesting year for me because I will be doing a lot of races that are new to me,” said Greipel, whose main goal for 2011 will be a debut appearance at the Tour de France.

“I will follow a bit of a different program to usual because I can now consider all of the biggest races. Early in the year I will be looking at Milan-San Remo, which I’ve not ridden before, and also going to Tirreno, which is another race I’ve not ridden before because the big races were set aside for Cavendish. I’m not planning to go to the Giro as there are plenty of other ways to build up to the Tour.”

He also confirmed he is targeting the World Championships in Copenhagen. “The Worlds should be a good race for me,” he said. “It’s only two hours from my home town of Rostock to Denmark on the ferry, which should mean I get a lot of support there.”

“I’ve not really thought about the circuit yet, but I’ve heard some things about it from riders who raced on it during the last stage of the Tour of Denmark. I’ll need to see it for myself and will probably go and look at it a couple of times. This year I did pretty well at the Worlds as I was up there until 15 kilometres from the finish on a course that definitely did not suit the sprinters, so we’ll see what happens.”

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).