The pedal became heavy and heavier at the cormet de roselend, then andre greipel got off the bike and thus ended his probably last adventure at the 107. Tour de france. End of the line in the alps for the old star.
A last rough sprint on the champs-elysees remains denied to him. Three days before the final in paris nothing went for the 38-year-old. The high mountains and a further infection left greipel exhausted from the crash at the beginning of the tour.
He had already stayed within the time limit with his last strength on the konigsetappe the day before. "I’m not doing well. Anyone with common sense would go to bed," greipel told ARD television. And so it happened. In his tenth tour participation he had to give up prematurely for the second time. Whether he will compete again in the world’s most important cycling race? Probably not. "I assume that this will be my last tour," the 38-year-old said in an interview with the german press agency, quickly adding: "but that’s okay."
Next year, four-time champion chris froome will join greipel’s racing team, israel start-up nation. Then it goes for the team alimented by billionaire sylvan adams around the yellow jersey, many helpers were already engaged for froome. For greipel, who has just extended until 2022, there is then no more room in the tour squad.
Until the end, the prospect of a mass sprint in paris had made him endure the agony of the tour. After all, the native of rostock won the royal sprint in the french capital in 2015 and 2016. In the end, the pain threshold was reached on one of his toughest tours, as greipel emphasized. Because of the circumstances. Already at the beginning of the tour the powerhouse fell heavily. "The crash, antibiotics, digestive problems – it was a torture," reported the sprinter, who was unable to pursue his profession properly and often rode only at the end of the field.
Now the tour goes on without him. But the most important thing is that the tour reaches paris at all, despite the increasing number of corona infections. "A tour without paris is not a tour. We need the tour to continue until then. Whether this is justifiable is the other side of the coin," said greipel. It had been a "strange trip" because of all the restrictions. A bit like "going to practice with his teammates".
With all his experience greipel also sees the development of the tour critically. "The tendency is to go faster and faster, further and further, higher and higher," complained the most successful driver in this year’s field with 156 victories. Greipel has his thoughts about the fact that riders are entering the professional circuit at younger and younger ages. "I don’t know if it’s good for the young riders," said greipel, who is also an important advisor to the youngsters in his team. "During the corona shutdown, he was a great mentor for our young riders," adams praised the german, saying he was a "positive force" on the team.
He wants to finish his career in the israel team, said greipel. He is positive about froome’s arrival. "For the life experience you can still take something with you."