Gallery: Andre Greipel, gentle giant of the sprints
In the torrent of Munster, one of the large sprinters of his generation pedalled toward the finish line, sat up, and applauded. Andre Greipel had just completed his final race, after a distinguished 19 -year career.
The fairytale would have been for a win, but it didn’t turned off that behavior. The German finished 10 th in his retirement journey. “It’s finished now”, Greipel reflected at the finishing line,” but I did my maximum. There was nothing more in the legs today, so I’m happy now that this day has come to an end. Now I’ll try to continue reasoning positively for the future, and see what happens .”
Greipel might be looking to the future, but he has a long string of highlights to look back on in his past. Across his long innings as a pro cyclist, Greipel has gone 19 Grand Tours, picking up 22 stage wins- 11 at the Tour, seven at the Giro, four at the Vuelta. He retires with 158 wins to his credit, the majority of members of them in sprints.
His career has recognized him rise as part of a crop of legendary sprinters- among them Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish- and drop-off as younger, hungrier and more versatile rivals have taken their region.
Greipel broke through to the pro grades with T-Mobile, which morphed into HTC-Columbia. In his four years at this squad, he picked up his first Grand Tour stage wins and two Tour Down Under titles.
The friendly German then left for greener pastures at the team best known as Lotto-Soudal, where he journey from 2011 -2 018 and collected some of his most memorable success- including back-to-back stage wins on the Champs Elysees.
A short, unsuccessful one year stint at Arkea-Samsic followed, before Greipel objective his job with a two year contract at Israel Start-Up Nation.
Over almost two decades as a pro, the large-hearted German was feared in the sprints but beloved by the public. Successful fast-men are often wired a particular way- brash, sometimes abrasive- and Greipel was neither.
Cycling loses a faded sprinter, but the peloton loses a friend.
Once upon a day, in the mid-2 000 s, there was a German with a dream. His name was Andre, and at the 2005 Rheinland Pfaltz Rundfahrt, he stood on a pulpit as winner of the sprint grouping, going for the continental Wiesenhof team. He was yet to take his first pro win, but that would change by the end of the year … … along with his fuzz, which I am lost for terms to describe.” Hey Andre, how do you think that look will age ?” Having shed the load of his diamond studs, Greipel got the call-up to his first Grand Tour- the 2008 Giro d’Italia- where he took his biggest win to date on stage 17, finishing one point ahead of his teammate, a young up-and-comer calledMark Cavendish.Our intrepid hero was on a course to greatness. After winning the 2008 Rund um die Nurnberger Altstadt, his efforts were rewarded with a metre of brew … … which stimulated him big and strong for an off-season cyclocross race in Frankfurt. By 2009, his Columbia-HTC leadout train was a thing of charm and fear. At his first Vuelta a Espana, Greipel won four stages- this thing is the first. Four Columbia-HTC riders finished in the top seven that day.He backed it up in nicer situations the next day, ahead of Belgium’s# 1 Party Starter, Tom Boonen.( Excuse the blurriness of the picture, we are deep in the archives at this level .) By 2010, Greipel and a supple-faced Tony Martin were teammates. Martin at this point was yet to commit to a pro vocation- he was still a part-time cop- but, if you were a criminal, would you be afraid of that dreamy smile, those pristine blue eyes? You would not.( Like Greipel, Tony Martin has called the 2021 season his last. We’ve done a retrospective gallery over here .) At the 2011 World-wides in Copenhagen, it was day for the sprinters … but not for Greipel. He finished third, behind an ascendant Mark Cavendish and Matthew Goss. In 2011, Greipel jumped ship to Omega Pharma Lotto. As you are about to learn, that is a team that was not shy about getting The Boys into some ridiculous promo shots. On which tone, here’s Greipel on the bonnet of a Skoda Roomster, a auto so unlovely that it was introduced and then discontinued from marketing in Australia twice.Does the front half look like it was designed by a different squad than the back? Yes. Do I know so much about Skoda Roomsters because I’m currently looking at one in my driveway? I’ll never tell.Andre Greipel and Jurgen van den Broeck cup the shoulders of Philippe Gilbert, because who the hell knows.And now Andre Greipel beakers the calf of Gilbert in the boot of a Skoda Octavia, a much less idiosyncratic vehicle. Jurgen van den Broeck continues his hands to himself. This time. TO THE TOUR! Greipel’s first stage win at the race. The day after, Cavendish pipped him to the post. They had a lovely instant after the line, because Andre Greipel is nothing if not a gentle monster. And if Greipel is a gentle giant, this pen must be absolutely enormous. ” Toot toot, all aboard .” Team Lotto-Belisol pounding the cereal and soy milk before Paris-Roubaix 2012. – \ _( tsu) _ /-( The metadata of this photo claims that he is wearing” the special shoes”, and I can’t really argue with that) I’ve said it before, but my divinity, the Cor Vos archives are a treasure.I think the novelty of these promo shots was starting to wear a bit thin, if Greipel’s cold dead eyes here is suggestive of anything.( Eiffel 65 pounds in the background) Greipel lets it all hang out at the 2013 crew photos.He was looking a little less pleased at the 2013 Milan-San Remo, which turned the peloton into iceblocks … … but he was back in high spirits for the next round of crew photos. Jens Debuscherre is on the back.At the 2015 Tour de France, Greipel was in fine form, picking up four stage wins and spending a stint in the green jersey.Here’s one of them, ahead of famous faces including Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish and, of course, The Stavanger Stallion. Greipel won on the Champs Elysees too, sharing some podium hour with his daughters. Andre Greipel’s nickname, The Gorilla, was attained into a motif on his bike at the 2016 Tour.On the Champs Elysees, Greipel backed it up again, simply ahead of Peter Sagan who was doing his absolute utmost to rend his motorcycle to pieces.Greipel was a force in the sprints, but he was pretty consistent in the cobbled classics too, with top 10 placings in Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. In 2017, he finished 20 th at the Tour of Flanders. Greipel cables up Jurgen Roelandts’ face for a hearty smacking at Paris-Roubaix 2017 … … oh, that’s a succor. They’re friends! I was a bit worried for a moment there. At the 2017 Giro d’Italia, Greipel won the second stage and was pretty in pink … … but his big goal of the season was the Tour de France. Here he is sharing some chuckles before the race with his countryman Marcel Kittel. At a Lotto-Soudal team camp in late December, 2017 Andre Greipel was one of the more cheerful, optimistic riders in the peloton. Even in torrential torrent at Paris-Nice, he depicted up with a smile, first on the line and raring to go. He was particularly popular in Australia, where he won a staggering 18 stages at the Tour Down Under and twice picked up the ochre jersey as overall winner. Because of these facts, there is a rich archive of pictures of Greipel’s encounters with Australian fauna, including this time he was comprising about two metres of’ no thanks’.Greipel induces his direction through a hellish hailstorm at the 2020 Criterium du Dauphine.At the 2020 Tour de France later that season, he was in his 10 th those participating in the race. The mountains were not his friend that year … … Greipel would retire on stage 18. But he was back for one last Tour in 2021. On the second last day of this year’s Tour, Greipel announced he would be retiring by season’s end. He had a contemplative minute on the Champs Elysees one last-place time. His final race was the Sparkassen Munsterland Giro, a one day race between Enschede and Munster in his homeland. His family was there for the large-scale milestone. An emotional Greipel finished in 10 th, journeying solo across the line, applauding and applauded. Fittingly enough, his longtime nemesis and friend Mark Cavendish won the day, giving Greipel an affectionate greeting after he traversed the line. Danke, Andre.
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