Andre Greipel finally achieved what he'd been aiming for since turning professional, claiming a sensational stage win on stage 10 of the Tour de France. The German sprinter pipped his biggest rival Mark Cavendish in the process, meaning he has now won stages in all three of cycling's grand tours.
At the finish in Carmaux the German thanked his teammates and support staff, and as he strutted onto the podium a beaming Marc Sergeant paid tribute to his sprinter. Sergeant signed Greipel in the off-season, tempting him from HTC-Highroad with a lucrative contract and the promise that he would ride the Tour de France, something Highroad could never match with Cavendish still on the payroll.
"I'm happy for him because he never did the Tour and that was because of Cavendish. They [HTC-Highroad] made the right decision in that period to bring Cavendish but that's why Andre changed teams and it's a victory for him and beating Cavendish," Sergeant told Cyclingnews at the finish.
"I've always had a great feeling for Andre and I've always believed in him. If you have a really good team like HTC you can have a sprinter, a GC rider all working well together."
There has never been any doubting Greipel's raw speed but questions have been raised over both his positioning and mental frailties in the past. At the finish in Cap Frehel he questioned the team's support of his abilities, but Sergeant pointed out that Andre had toughened up since signing for the team and that they were united.
"I read quotes that said because he looks like a tank he should act like a tank, but you can be a teddy bear and be giving out presents. You should be a grizzly bear in the final and I think he turned out to be more aggressive, otherwise he would not have been in third position in the last corner."
Van Den Broeck inspires win
This morning the Lotto team visited Jurgen Van Den Broeck in hospital. The Belgian climber is still in intensive care since crashing out of the race on stage 9. Sargeant brought this entire staff of riders and support crew to Van Den Broeck's bedside and said that it had inspired the team towards today's win.
"The win will never make up for what he went through or the team that worked around him to get him here at 100 per cent. This morning we went to visit him and it was special. He's in intensive care and at first they wouldn't let us in, but we insisted and they finally let us in. We went in with a small heart and we left with a big heart.
"I saw him looking bad when he crashed, he was so pale and I'm glad I could erase that image from my mind and see the Van Den Broeck I know."