Andre Greipel is hoping history repeats itself at the Tour Down Under ─ not the version from last year, but from two years ago.
The brawny German ace won the overall in 2008, but crashed out of the 2009 edition and was stymied by a shoulder problem that kept him sidelined for four months.
“Last year I had some bad luck, although I did win the first stage. However, I don’t expect to have that bad luck again,” Greipel said in a team release. “When I race, I’ll definitely be thinking about 2008 more than 2009. Every race is different, but I hope I can win at least one stage.”
Despite the bad crash last year, Greipel has fond memories of the Aussie race.
His breakout performance in the 2008 edition helped secure him a place as one of Columbia-HTC’s top sprinters. He went on to win 15 races in 2008 and upped that tally to 20 in 2009 despite missing nearly the first half of year.
“The Tour Down Under in 2008 was the first time I could have real ambitions for myself, so it’s a race I remember with a lot of affection. You could say Australia made me,” he said. “It’s a much more competitive event than it used to be. In 2008 the riders were still fairly relaxed but in its second ProTour year in 2009, even in the two stages I raced I could tell it was much tougher.”
Greipel traveled to Australia on January 2 and after looking over the 2010 World Championships circuit in Melbourne, he and his Columbia-HTC teammates will head for Adelaide.
“Adapting to the time difference is crucial, but so is good training beforehand,” he said. “Marcel (Sieberg) and I will be down for breakfast in the hotel at 6:00 a.m and out training at 6:30 in the morning to avoid the heat. I’ve found that’s the best way to do it, and long-term it really pays off.”
Joining Greipel will be former world time trial champions Bert Grabsch and Michael Rogers. Hayden Roulston, Leigh Howard and Matt Goss will be making their respective debuts in Columbia-HTC colors.
Columbia-HTC for Tour Down Under
- Bernhard Eisel (AUT)
- Matt Goss (AUS)
- Bert Grabsch (GER)
- Andre Greipel (GER)
- Leigh Howard (AUS)
- Michael Rogers (AUS)
- Hayden Roulston (NZL)
- Marcel Sieberg (GER)