Greipel "Plan A" for Lotto

Stage winner Andre Greipel (HTC - Columbia) makes his way to the podium.

Stage winner Andre Greipel (HTC - Columbia) makes his way to the podium. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

While his teammate Mark Cavendish is scoring stage victories at the Tour de France, André Greipel of HTC-Columbia is preparing to leave on holidays with his family on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Even though the tall German won two stages at the Tour of Austria recently, he still has feelings about not having been selected for the Tour by his team, and is working on his departure.

"I will ride in a team with which I'll be able to race the Tour," Greipel told German news agency sid. This team looks more and more likely to be Omega Pharma-Lotto, whose sponsor boss Marc Coucke confirmed that the squad and Greipel's manager are negotiating a contract.

"Greipel is our Plan A," said Coucke. "We have riders for the Classics and for stage races, now we need Greipel for the sprints."

The 28-year-old, who has 14 victories on his account so far this season, is reportedly taking three riders with him to the new outfit: Bert Grabsch and Marcel Sieberg from HTC, and Robert Wagner from Skil-Shimano.

If Greipel's leave is confirmed, the 2011 Tour de France will have one more sprinter to challenge Cavendish in the fight for stage victories and the green jersey - an interesting prospect.

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