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Tour de France shorts: shopping for riders, fractures, and more

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Andre Greipel in his new German champion's kit

Andre Greipel in his new German champion's kit (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rigoberto Uran (Sky)

Rigoberto Uran (Sky) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil)

Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil) (Image credit:
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Patrick Lefevere went shopping for the best Belgian talent and picked up Tom Boonen

Patrick Lefevere went shopping for the best Belgian talent and picked up Tom Boonen (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

Greipel proud to race in German national champion's jersey

Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) will start the Tour de France and fight for victory and the first yellow jersey of this year's race wearing the German national champion's jersey.

He won the distinctive white jersey last weekend, beating fellow sprinter Gerald Ciolek and John Degenkolb.

"I've won a lot of races but it's going to be special racing in the German national champion's jersey," he told Cyclingnews.

"It's possible for the sprinters to get the yellow jersey on Saturday. That's something extra but I'm sure we'll see some 'interesting' sprints during all the Tour de France."

Greipel is confident that Lotto Belisol can control and lead out the sprints this year.

"I think the teams will make the difference more than ever before and I think I've got the best lead out train in the race. The sprints will be super fast and if things work out as we've planned in the final kilometres, it'll be hard to overtake us," he said.

Omega Pharma - QuickStep shopping for Tour GC rider

While the squad assembled for the 2013 edition of the Tour de France has been devoted entirely to the sprint pursuits of Mark Cavendish, Patrick Lefevere has announced that the composition of his Omega Pharma - QuickStep squad may be different when the Tour starts its 101st edition in 2014.

"I am in the market for a general classification rider. (RIgoberto) Uran is indeed one of the options but there are still others. The market is currently in a recession and in quite a few teams there is uncertainty about the future. That puts us in a strong position but we don't need to talk until the Tour has begun as they must first show what they can do," Lefereve told Nieuwsblad.

Last year Cavendish found himself without the kind of support he desired at the Tour de France with Sky but Lefevere insisted a team could be put together to foster both GC and sprint objectives.

"I am convinced that the combination of the two is possible. In the flat stages, the riders in the sprint train help for the sprint and also for the rider aiming for the overall standings. In the mountains we would need a sufficient helper too - perhaps not to win the Tour but to fight for the general classification."

Mobile medical van welcomes first Tour casualty

Jürgen Roelandts will start the Tour de France in Corsica today with a broken rib, according to reports. The Lotto Belisol rider was informed of his injury after undertaking an x-ray in the Tour's mobile medical van - the first one to be introduced at the Grand Boucle.

The mobile unit is designed to alleviate the burden in travelling to a hospital to make a post-crash diagnosis. Roelandts was reportedly the first rider to utilise the service.

"It showed that Roelandts' tenth rib is broken after a fall two weeks ago in the ZLM Toer," said team doctor Jan Mathieu.

"The x-ray taken immediately after the crash did not show the fracture. Now you can clearly see it on the tenth rib. Jürgen has still some problems, hence the check up. We were the first to use the new medical van for the tour," he added.

De Gendt with high hopes for Alpe d'Huez

Vacansoleil-DCM's Thomas De Gendt believes that he could, on a good day, win the stage that finishes atop Alpe d'Huez. The Belgian was one of the standout riders from the Giro d'Italia last year, claiming an emphatic victory to Passo dello Stelvio on his way to third overall and believs that L'Alpe could present an opportunity for stage victory.

"I know how hard the climb will be to Alpe d'Huez. It will be particularly difficult but if I have a good day, I will certainly be with the best. It is a mountain that suits me," he told Sporza.

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