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Andre Greipel has said that he believes a strong Tour de France is on the cards, with the big German rider confident that his current shoulder problems will be fully resolved before the Grand Tour gets underway in Leeds on July 5th.
Greipel was notably absent from the sprint finishes at this year’s Presidential Tour of Turkey, with the multiple previous stage winner avoiding the hustle and bustle of the sprints. The reason was his crash in Gent Wevelgem; he dislocated his collarbone there and while he was given a green light to get back to competition in Turkey, he was told that he had to be very careful.
“I have strictly-set goals from the doctors as regards when I can do what,” he told Cycling Tips. “The doctors said don’t risk anything, a crash could be the worst thing for you in preparation for the Tour.”
Rather than taking on the likes of Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step), Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and the other sprinters, Greipel instead put in different types of efforts, dragging the bunch along on more than one occasion and also going in a long breakaway move on stage six.
He said that both were with the aim of building his racing fitness, but doing so at times in the race where there was less risk of falling.
“My condition is not bad,” he said, appearing content with the progress he has made thus far in his recovery. “I just have to force myself not to go in the sprints. It is hard to see the others sprinting, but I cannot risk anything because there are important races coming up.”
Greipel is one of the strongest galloper in the sport and has come a long way from when he was HTC Highroad’s second sprinter. He has a big affinity with the Turkish race and is a popular rider with the organisers and fans.
While he was disappointed not to be able to mix it up on this occasion, being at the event was a boost in itself; after training for Turkey beforehand, he and the other riders had good racing, comfortable hotels and fine weather.
Greipel is scheduled to take a break from competition now. “I have three weeks off, trying to get muscles on my shoulder,” he said, smiling. “Then I start the Tour of Belgium. I will be able to start sprinting again there.”
After that race he is due to do the Tour of Luxembourg, the ZLM Tour and the German national championships.
As for the Tour de France, he’s confident that he’ll be back to full strength and ready to try to add to his five career stage wins there. “I will already be in the correct form, like I am usually am for the whole year,” he promised.
He may have held back in Turkey, but he has no intention of doing so in July.