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Greipel to race on for two more years with Israel Start-Up Nation

Santos Tour Down Under 2020 2nd stage Woodside Stirling 1358 km 22012020 Andre Greipel GER Israel StartUp Nation photo Dario BelingheriBettiniPhoto2020
Greipel at the 2020 Tour Down Under (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

André Greipel will race at the top level into his 40s after signing a new two-year contract with Israel Start-Up Nation

The German sprinter joined the Israeli team for 2020 – their first season in the WorldTour – after terminating his contract with Arkéa-Samsic just 10 months into what was meant to be a two-year deal. 

There had been speculation that Greipel, who'd been replaced by Caleb Ewan after eight years at Lotto Soudal, was considering retirement but the 37-year-old has clearly found a new lease of life at Israel Start-Up Nation, despite a disrupted debut campaign.

"To tell you the truth, I was expecting that the team would offer me a one-year extension," Greipel said. 

"Of course, I was very flattered and pleased that the team management shows so much trust in me. It was an easy decision to accept the offer, and I am fully ready to prolong my career and help the team keep growing."

Greipel debuted with the team at the Tour Down Under in January, staying in Australia to do the Race Torquay and Cadel Evans road race. However, in mid-February he suffered a shoulder fracture that required surgery, and the following month the whole season came to a halt as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe. 

Having originally considered ending his career in December, Greipel is now set to race until the end of 2021, at which point he'll be 40.

"I did not get the opportunity to race the full season, so when the team offered me the chance to stay, I consulted my family, and that was it," Greipel said. 

"I still love racing. The atmosphere in the team is great. We all share the responsibility to make this team successful and bring in the results. It may be young and new in the WorldTour, but it's very professional from A to Z. 

"As for me personally, I am ready to go. Actually, I had to hold myself back so as not to go too fast as I want to be fresh and ready for the season restart. I am still capable of producing results, but we all share that responsibility in this team."

The two-year deal is a show of faith from Israel Start-Up Nation. Greipel may have only won one race since 2018 but the German, who has tasted more 150 victories in his career, brings much more to the table. 

"André proved straight away that he is a rider with great character and exceptional leadership skills," said team manager Kjell Carlstrom. "We highly value his experience and what he brings to the team both in terms of his performance as well as guiding others. 

Team owner Sylvan Adams added: "André has been such a positive force on our team since he joined. André carries himself with grace and humility, despite his impressive palmarès. Prior to the Corona shutdown, André had been a great mentor to our younger riders, in particular to our Israeli neo-pro sprinter Itamar Einhorn, who scored the first podium ever by an Israeli, at the Tour Colombia."