UCI road world championships: Greipel plays down talk of a bunch sprint, says Degenkolb will lead German team

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He’s had a stunning season with 16 wins including four stages of the Tour de France. Andre Greipel is unsurprisingly on the list of pre-race favourites for a race that many predict will finish in a big gallop to the line but, reflecting on the course, he expresses doubt if things will work out that way.

“After I did a recon of the circuit, I am not sure if a bunch sprint is a possibility,” he said, speaking two days before the elite men’s road race.

“It looks easier than it actually is. I think that a rider who is able to attack on the final climb can make it to the finish line. My form is still good, but it will be hard to survive.”

Greipel showed impressive form earlier this year in the spring Classics, showing that he is more than just a sprinter. Still, despite that, he said that he is willing to ride for another on the German squad.

“John Degenkolb is our leader,” he stated, indicating that the Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix victor will be the number one on the team.

“He is one of the favourites to conquer the rainbow jersey. My role depends on how the race develops, in which the weather can be decisive. In rainy conditions, the circuit will be dangerous because of its many corners.

“This means that the race will be harder, so there will be bigger gaps and less riders who can win the race.”

Greipel’s best performance in the worlds came in the 2011 edition in Copenhagen. He finished third, crossing the line behind Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) and Matt Goss (Australia).

The latter two riders are missing from this year’s race, with Cavendish suffering the effects of a bad crash during the Tour de France and Goss struggling with a lack of form.

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