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Tour de France

André Greipel surprise addition to Tour de France team

Rick Zabel will act as lead-out for veteran sprinter as Israel Start-Up Nation confirms its Tour de France roster.

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It’s back to the future for André Greipel, who is a surprise add-on to the Tour de France for Israel Start-Up Nation.

Following a return to winning form this spring, the veteran German will be back to start his 11th Tour. A winner of 22 grand tour stages, Greipel won in Europe again this season for the first time since 2018.

“Not quite as planned beforehand, but not less fun,” Greipel said. “I feel very well in shape at the moment. I am ready for an 11th Tour de France. I am proud to be part of this line-up, especially given the other strong riders in this team.”

The veteran German sprinter and Rick Zabel round out the team’s “Tour Eight” for the 108th Tour, starting June 26.

Greipel, 38, initially was hoping to race the Giro d’Italia, but instead he will return to the Tour, where he’s won 11 stages, including one in every Tour from 2011 to 2016.

He fell short of stage wins in 2017 and 2018 with Lotto-Soudal, and moved to Israel Start-Up Nation in 2019. He confirmed his retirement at the end of 2022.

Twice a winner on the Champs-Élysées, Greipel is hoping to find the winning magic one more time.

“Winning in Paris is something so special,” Greipel said in a team release. “Sprinting to a victory on the Champs-Élysées, the very last few hundred meters of the biggest cycling race in the world is incomparable with any other sprint. That feeling is what drives me most.”

Helping Greipel in the sprints will be Zabel, back for his fourth Tour start. Zabel will also help protect designated GC captain Michael Woods in the flats.

“I think this is a step up for me,” Zabel said, “going from being a good lead-out rider to also being one that can protect the GC leaders.”

Israel Start-Up Nation for 2021 Tour de France

Michael Woods (Can)

Chris Froome (GBR)

Dan Martin (Ire)

Rick Zabel (Ger)

André Greipel (Ger)

Omer Goldstein (Isr)

Guillaume Boivin (Can)

Reto Hollenstein (Swi)