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Agence France Presse
Germany’s André Greipel on Sunday said he had fully recovered from the crash that prevented him from sealing back-to-back Tour Down Under wins last year.
The defending champion plowed into a parked police motorbike on stage three. The subsequent reconstructive surgery on one shoulder sidelined him for four months.
“It’s a part of sport. Okay, it was a bit bad luck that a motorbike was standing there,” Greipel said. “But, anyway, I had really good surgery. Everything is fine, I have no pain at all. I don’t think about the crash any more.”
The HTC-Columbia speedster is one of the favorites for the sprint-heavy Tour Down Under along with last year’s winner, Australia’s Allan Davis, who was also involved in the dramatic crash.
Davis was floored by Greipel’s bike as it flew back into the peloton, but he remounted and, helped by his Quick Step teammates, heroically battled back to finish the stage second and ultimately win the race.
He said his colleagues at new team Astana, who include 2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro, would provide equally strong support.
“Without (my teammates) last year I wouldn’t have been able to win the bike race,” Davis said. “It was huge to get back in the bike race, let alone be up there for the overall win,” he said.
“But Oscar Pereiro, I don’t have to state what he can do. He’s in pretty good shape and I think he’s a key rider for me and the team. I’m definitely on par with the sort of team I had last year with Quick Step.”