Greipel sprints to victory in Mallorca

André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) surged to victory in Thursday’s Trofeo Magaluf-Palmanova to close out the five-day Mallorca Challenge.

André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) surged to victory in Thursday’s Trofeo Magaluf-Palmanova to close out the five-day Mallorca Challenge.

The Tour Down Under champ pounced to his fifth win of the young season in the attack-riddled final day of racing on Spain’s Mallorca island. Greipel held off Koldo Fernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi) while Manuel Cardoso (Footon-Servetto-Fuji) came across the line third.

“I wasn’t expecting this win.  Before the stage I thought I’d just try to hang on for as long as I could in the hillier parts, but I got over the climbs in a lot better shape than I’d thought possible,” Greipel said afterwards.  “In the last 40 kilometers my HTC-Columbia teammates did a lot of chasing of the riders who’d broken away and that way we had everything under control in the last part of the stage.  There were three roundabouts in the last five kilometers where things got a bit more complicated again.”

“But I followed my teammate (Vicente) Reynes.  I was about fifth wheel on the final right-hand corner onto the  finishing straight on the seafront and then I went for it in the last 200 metres.  It’s always good to get a win, but I’m particularly pleased with how well I got over the climbs on a tough day, too. My teammates worked hard for this, too, and we deserved to get a win.”

It was a frenetic day of racing, with scores of attacks and counter-attacks as riders tried to break the deadlock of the sprinters.

Ermanno Capelli (Footon-Servetto-Fuji) went on an early move that drew out such riders as Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank), Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) and Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne).

Euskaltel-Euskadi was chasing to keep it close, when Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha) attacked on the Cat. 2 Coll de Claret, bringing with him Nick Nuyens (Rabobank) and Toni Tauler (Spanish national team).

With about 25km to go, André Steeson (Saxo Bank) and Jan Bakelandts (Omega Pharma) pulled clear with a 20-second gap, but HTC-Columbia was pulling full gas to set up the sprint.

Greipel punctured with about 15km to go, but the team brought him back to the lead group while the leading pair dangled off the front a little longer as HTC-Columbia reorganized the chase.

Joan Horrach (Katusha), Luís León Sánchez and Dani Moreno (Omega Pharma) counter-attacked with 5km to go, with Maxime Monfort shadowing the move for HTC-Columbia.

It all came back together with less than 4km for the mass sprint, with Greipel taking another win to help retain his No. 1 world ranking.