The pressure is on Andre Greipel at the Tour of the Algarve to bring in the first win of the season for both himself and his new team Omega Pharma-Lotto. Jurgen Roelandts said that once the first win is achieved, things will become easier for the team.
The Belgian team has had to wait a long time for its first wins in the last two seasons. In 2009, Cadel Evans had the first win on March 28, a stage at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali. Last year's win was even later, when Philippe Gilbert won the Amstel Gold Race on April 18.
Omega Pharma-Lotto must have thought its luck would change when it signed sprinter Greipel for this season. The German had won eight stages at the early-season Tour Down Under in the previous three years, as well as taking the overall title twice. This year he didn't have a single win, although he finished second twice. He was also shut out at the Mallorca Challenge.
Gilbert is also in Portugal, and will be going for those stages too difficult for the sprinter. "On paper it can't go wrong with Gilbert and Greipel on the team,” Roelandts told Het Laatste Nieuws.
"We have to put the pressure on to win at least one stage. Once the first victory has been won, we can go."
Greipel's presence on the team reduces the pressure on Roelandts to win. "Preparing the sprint for someone like Andre is not easy. But the stress of winning is indeed on him and not me . That's a difference. “