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by Shane Stokes
October 19, 2017
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This year’s Tour de France didn’t go as planned for André Greipel, with the German sprinter having to be satisfied with second on the final stage in Paris plus third on three other stages. The 35-year-old is determined to return to the top of the podium next season and appears to like the look of the 2018 Tour route.
“It’s always a great moment when the course of the next Tour de France is revealed,” he said, responding to Tuesday’s unveiling of the Tour course in Paris. “I have taken a first look at the route. The start in the Vendée is nice. Most sprint opportunities are in the first part of the Tour. No doubt, the first week will be nervous, as usual. On top of that there is chance of echelons being formed, which means everyone will want to be at the front.
“The cobble stage to Roubaix is special. I am looking forward to it, but it’s a stage that suits a lot of others too. I see several opportunities and I am looking forward to riding the Tour with a strong Lotto Soudal team. I will, like always, do everything to be in top shape and will aim for my twelfth stage win.”
Lotto-Soudal sports manager Marc Sergeant gave his own assessment, and sees opportunities for his fastest finisher.
“In the first part of the Tour there are five stages that could end with a sprint, including three in the first four days. The stages to Chartres and Amiens, on day seven and eight, are sprint chances too,” he said. “The stage to Roubaix is one for the cobblestone specialists, with fifteen cobbled sectors. That’s a day to look forward to for us as a Belgian team, just like the echelon stages. Bring it on.”