Andre Greipel bows out at the Münsterland Giro


Andre Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) lifted the curtain Sunday on an illustrious 17-year career, losing at home at the Sparkassen Munsterland Giro.

Greipel, who turned pro in 2005 and has since achieved more than 150 victories, placed 10th in his last outing on Sunday.

Perhaps rightly so, the race was won by Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep), the biggest rival in the German’s career, although the duo started for the same team at High Road.

Greipel crossed the line in 10th place in a fragmented field in difficult conditions, and was greeted with hugs from his family across the line. Cavendish was also on hand to offer a warm embrace.

“It’s over now,” Greipel said in a video posted by his Israel Start-Up Nation team.

“I did my best. There was nothing left in the legs today. I’m happy now that this day is over and now I’m trying to keep thinking positively for the future, and we’ll see what happens.

Greipel announced his retirement in June, having initially planned to run until 2022 with Israel Start-Up Nation. He started his career in 2005 with the German team Wiesenhof, winning his first Denmark Tour victory, before quickly rising to the top of the sport with T-Mobile.

He won two races in 2006 and 2007, but the victories started pouring in in 2008, with four stages and the overall classification of the Tour Down Under, plus a stage of the Giro d’Italia. He added 40 more victories in 2009 and 2010, including four at the 2009 Vuelta a España, before leaving for the team now known as Lotto Soudal for a more important leadership role and access to the Tour de France far away. from the shadow of Cavendish.

He quickly became a very successful and consistent breadwinner in the Belgian squad, winning one stage on his Tour de France debut in 2011 and three more the following year. He has had a remarkable streak of wins from at least 12 consecutive Grand Tour starts and, after hitting four times in the 2015 Tour, took his tally to 11 and his Giro to seven.

Greipel left Lotto Soudal at the end of 2018 on a bitter note as he was effectively sent off due to a management reshuffle, with Caleb Ewan his replacement as the main sprinter. He spent a year in the France Arkéa-Samsic team but canceled his contract prematurely and joined Israel Start-Up Nation in 2020.

After spending two years without a win, citing confidence issues, he struck again in May at the Challenge de Mallorca, and again a few days later at the Ruta del Sol. He made his last Tour de France before choosing to bow out on German soil.

“I don’t look back with anger. I look to the future with a lot of happiness because I can do whatever I want,” said Greipel when he announced his retirement.

“I can suffer when I want and of course spend a lot of time with my family. I wish everyone a good time in the pro peloton. I hope to stay in cycling somehow. I am truly grateful for everyone around me in my career. My family, my coaches and everyone who has been a part of my career. See you soon. Goodbye goodbye.”

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