Greipel to skip Tour Down Under in 2015

André Greipel won't be adding to his record number of stage wins at the Tour Down Under in 2015. The Lotto-Belisol rider will skip his traditional season opener in favour of something closer to home. He will begin his year with the Mallorca Challenge, as he looks to ensure his form for the Classics in March and April.

"I've decided together with the team, my race schedule switch and enter something later in the season," Greipel wrote on his personal website. "The planned start of the season for me is currently the Mallorca Challenge."

The Mallorca challenge will begin on February 9 with the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca, allowing Greipel an extra three weeks before his season begins. This will be the first time that Greipel has not attended the Australian race since his debut in 2008. Greipel is the record holder for stage wins taking 15 in total and claiming the overall classification on two occasions.

"I found it very difficult to dispense with the Tour Down Under in January, I always love to go there in addition to the many successes," he wrote. "I want to change my focus in 2015 at certain points and I hope that by switching it will give impetus towards one or the other races in the spring."

Grepiel won more races than anyone else in the peloton in 2014, including two stages at the Tour Down Under, a stage of the Tour de France and the German national title. However, the he was left the Classics winless after injuring his shoulder at Gent-Wevelgem.

Greipel is currently in Benicassim with the Lotto-Belisol team as they begin their December training camp. The German says that the time in Spain will be spent working on his athletic ability. "I set my focus here in training camp on strength and endurance, and of course to put the new Ridley Noah SL through its paces. After all, the more comfortable you feel on his bike, the safer you will also be through the season."

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