The German sprinter came into the race in hot form after winning at the Challenge Mallorca, backing that up with a stage and the Green jersey at the Volta ao Algarve. However in the hotly contested sprints in Abu Dhabi the 34-year-old came up short with a second, third and ninth place finishes.
Greipel was not the only sprinter to miss out on a stage but Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and the ever-improving Caleb Ewan all tasted success. Heavy rain affected Sunday’s final night-time stage on the Yas Marina F1 circuit, and despite a late charge, Greipel could not overhaul Ewan or Cavendish.
“I think it was a nice week. Normally we are there for the sprints and the guys really went all in to support me. Today we even got some seconds with Rafa [Rafael Valls] in the front and we just can be happy that we didn’t crash today and the week was quite successful. Okay, we didn’t win a stage but we made the best out of it I think,” Greipel said.
The main priority for the riders competing on the Yas Marina Formula One circuit was to remain upright and the peloton rode tempo for much of the race. The sprint teams chased down an early break before increasing the pace in the final few laps.
“First of all I think it looked maybe worse than it was,” Greipel explained.
“We were actually surprised it was not so slippery but still you have to keep up somehow. I slipped just once and this was the last corner, Cavendish as well. I kept the wheel of Cav because I was hoping that Renshaw somehow could place him a bit better than we were. Actually we were too far back in the last corner, but I couldn’t prevent it. At the end we lost a bit of momentum but I think with Caleb, the best and fastest won and I can be happy with third.
Greipel added that he raced in Abu Dhabi without a dedicated leadout man but pointed to Paris-Nice, the next objective on his list before the Spring Classics.
“I came here without real sprint support but still we were there in the sprints and there I’m really happy with the team. Next I go home and then it’s Paris-Nice.”