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Lotto-Belisol and Greipel still searching for first Flemish success

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Germany's Andre Greipel

Germany's Andre Greipel (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Andre Greipel (Lotto)

Andre Greipel (Lotto) (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Andre Greipel wins stage one of the 2012 Tour of Oman

Andre Greipel wins stage one of the 2012 Tour of Oman (Image credit: AFP)

Things have not been going Lotto-Belisol's way in the spring classics, and the team's luck may have taken another turn for the worse. Star sprinter Andre Greipel headed to the hospital on Thursday to have his left hand x-rayed.

Greipel finished 12th in the Scheldeprijs, and was involved in the large crash which occurred immediately after the finish line. It was announced on Thursday morning that the rest of the team had gone to recon the Paris-Roubaix route, while he went to hospital.

The loss of the German would be a major one for the Belgian team, who were counting on him to lead them in Paris-Roubaix. Not that they are expecting top results in any case.

Team manger Herman Frison said that Greipel might have finished 15th in the race last year, had he had more luck, and didn't expect much more in 2012. “But we're not going to count anyone out. Everyone must ride for what it's worth and we will try to have riders in a break.”

Frison refused to call it a crisis, but is aware that things are reaching a critical point. "We had made this Scheldeprijs an important goal," Frison told Het Nieuwsblad. “Gent-Wevelgem, De Panne and now this. It's not good and we must look at things. But we do everything. I can hardly reproach the riders.”

The team is new this year and is still putting together its sprint train. Things worked well at the Tour Down Under, but since then, Jurgen Roelandts, Lars Bak and Joost Van Leijen have all been injured, and Vincente Reynes, Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson have been ill.

“We strengthened our train for Greipel and in Australia found that it worked,” Frison said. “But since then then we haven't been able to ride together once.”

Greipel himself is naturally unhappy with the status quo. “He is frustrated on the team bus. His form is good and we continue to believe in him," Frison said.

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