Skip to main content

Greipel takes a resounding victory in Tour of Qatar stage

Image 1 of 29

André Greipel triumphs in the Tour of Qatar stage 5

André Greipel triumphs in the Tour of Qatar stage 5
(Image credit: AFP)
Image 2 of 29

Andre Greipel in the bunch

Andre Greipel in the bunch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 3 of 29

Omega Pharma Quick Step riders lined up and protecting their race leader.

Omega Pharma Quick Step riders lined up and protecting their race leader.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 4 of 29

Tour of Qatar peloton

Tour of Qatar peloton
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 5 of 29

Tour of Qatar peloton

Tour of Qatar peloton
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 6 of 29

Patrick Gretsch, Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder and Daniel Schorn

Patrick Gretsch, Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder and Daniel Schorn
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 7 of 29

Patrick Gretsch, Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder and Daniel Schorn

Patrick Gretsch, Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder and Daniel Schorn
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 8 of 29

Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder, Daniel Schorn and Patrick Gretsch

Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder, Daniel Schorn and Patrick Gretsch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 9 of 29

Stijn Devolder

Stijn Devolder
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 10 of 29

Patrick Gretsch

Patrick Gretsch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 11 of 29

Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder, Daniel Schorn and Patrick Gretsch

Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder, Daniel Schorn and Patrick Gretsch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 12 of 29

Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder, Daniel Schorn and Patrick Gretsch

Vladimir Isaychev, Stijn Devolder, Daniel Schorn and Patrick Gretsch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 13 of 29

The leaders at the start: Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen

The leaders at the start: Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 14 of 29

The crosswinds can be brutal in Qatar

The crosswinds can be brutal in Qatar
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 15 of 29

The peloton in Qatar

The peloton in Qatar
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 16 of 29

Andre Greipel leads the charge to the line

Andre Greipel leads the charge to the line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 17 of 29

Best young rider Guillaume Van Keirsbulck

Best young rider Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 18 of 29

Best young rider Guillaume Van Keirsbulck on the podium

Best young rider Guillaume Van Keirsbulck on the podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 19 of 29

Onlookers watch Tom Boonen pass by

Onlookers watch Tom Boonen pass by
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 20 of 29

Andre Greipal talks with teammates

Andre Greipal talks with teammates
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 21 of 29

Andre Greipel is interviewed

Andre Greipel is interviewed
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 22 of 29

Andre Greipel is congratulated

Andre Greipel is congratulated
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 23 of 29

Andre Greipel beats Aidis Kruopis and Theo Boss

Andre Greipel beats Aidis Kruopis and Theo Boss
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 24 of 29

Andre Greipel wins stage 5 in Qatar

Andre Greipel wins stage 5 in Qatar
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 25 of 29

Andre Greipel wins stage 5 in Qatar

Andre Greipel wins stage 5 in Qatar
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 26 of 29

Andre Greipel sprints to win stage 5

Andre Greipel sprints to win stage 5
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 27 of 29

Andre Greipel triumphs in stage 5

Andre Greipel triumphs in stage 5
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 28 of 29

The leaders: Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen

The leaders: Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 29 of 29

Qatar stage 5 winner André Greipel on the podium

Qatar stage 5 winner André Greipel on the podium
(Image credit: AFP)

As he often reminds reporters, André Greipel prefers to let his legs do the talking, and they certainly provided a forceful statement in Madinat Al Shamal as the Lotto-Belisol man sprinted to a resounding victory on stage 5 of the Tour of Qatar.

The previous day, Greipel had endured the narrowest of defeats to Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), losing out by the width of a rim in the sprint, and on hearing the result of the photo finish, the German's first instinct was to murmur a shy apology to his teammates.

On Thursday, Greipel provided a fuller and more eloquent response to that disappointment by landing a comfortable sprint victory over Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge). It was a victory, Greipel admitted, that was born partly out of anger.

"Maybe I put a little bit of anger into my sprint today, but I think it was a good sprint," Greipel told reporters, his voice scarcely rising above a whisper.

Indeed, such is Greipel's aversion to making declarations with his mouth rather than his legs that he had very nearly succeeded in slipping away from the podium without speaking to any journalists at all. A six foot frame and a German champion's skinsuit do not make for the most effective camouflage in the desert, however, and a delegation of reporters arrested Greipel as he wheeled his bike towards doping control. With a smile of resignation, he quietly described the day's events, as requested.

"I think QuickStep wanted to let the breakaway go today so we took the responsibility and tried to set up the sprint. I think the team did a really good job during the whole stage to chase the breakaway down and to keep me out of trouble," he said.

Two of the most trusted elements of Greipel's lead-out team, Marcel Sieberg and Jürgen Roelandts, guided him through the final kilometres, where a stiff crosswind could easily have derailed his hopes, but the German was keen to stress that it was very much an ensemble effort.

"Everyone was part of the victory today, because Kris Boeckmans and Jonas [Vangenechten] brught us to the front with two kilometres to go and then you have the experienced guys like Sieberg and Roelandts, who are always in the right position," Greipel said. "It was more a headwind today but if you see the last two kilometres it was crosswind and it was an important thing to be there in front. It was a tactical decision for us and once we had the spot, we defended it to get the shelter."

Thursday's victory is Greipel's third of the new season, after he landed a brace of wins at the Tour Down Under, but he admitted that it was something of a relief to break Omega Pharma-QuickStep's domination this week. "Of course, we wanted to win a stage here and now we have it," he said.

Welcome though the victory was, February races are rarely a destination unto themselves. Everybody in Qatar is on the road to somewhere else, be it the spring classics or objectives further down the line, but Greipel joked that his principal aim from the week was simply "to finish this race in one piece."

Since joining Lotto in 2011, however, Greipel has made continued improvement on the cobbles and he offered crucial support to Jürgen Roelandts at last year's Tour of Flanders, a role he intends to reprise once again this season. "The last four days were really hard and Oman is also important," he said. "I think it's the next step towards the classics."

Before helping Roelandts in April, of course, there is an opportunity for Greipel to land a significant win of his own on the cobbles in early March. Last season's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne fell victim to the weather, but assuming that kind of snowfall doesn't repeat itself, he will line up as one of the favourites for victory.

Greipel was cautious, however, when asked if Kuurne would be a goal. "Yeah, could be," he said, before his face creased into a smile: "But maybe we need skis there." His legs will doubtless tell us more on March 2.