Tour de France

Lotto-Soudal betting on sprint ace Greipel

Six-time Tour stage winner Greipel will captain Lotto-Soudal's sprint-centric squad for the 2015 Tour de France

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PARIS (AFP) — Belgian cycling outfits are known for their sprinters so when Lotto-Soudal unveiled its Tour de France line-up with the focus on speedster André Greipel, it was no surprise.

The giant German has six stage wins from bunch sprints on the Tour and has won at least one in each of the last four editions. He also won stage 6 of this year’s Giro d’Italia.

For the 2015 sprint finishes, the 32-year-old will have a lead-out train of New Zealand’s Greg Henderson, Jens Debusschere, and Marcel Sieberg guiding him home on the flat stages.

“There are less sprint stages than on a normal Tour but it remains our best chance of a stage win,” said team boss Marc Sergeant.

French puncher Tony Gallopin also won a Tour stage last year and wore the overall leader’s yellow jersey for two days. He, Tim Wellens, and Thomas De Gendt will be given a free hand to attack on rolling stages.

Breakaway specialist Adam Hansen, a 34-year-old Australian, has completed every single grand tour he has started since 2011 and this will be his 12th. He picked up stage wins in the Giro in 2013 and the Vuelta in 2014.

Lotto-Soudal team for the Tour de France:

Lars Bak (Dk), Thomas De Gendt (B), Jens Debusschere (B), Tony Gallopin (F), Andre Greipel (G), Adam Hansen (Aus), Greg Henderson (NZ), Marcel Sieberg (G), Tim Wellens (B)