ANDRÉ GREIPEL will return to Adelaide to kick-start his UCI World Tour campaign for 2018 at the Santos Tour Down Under.
The 35-year-old won the Santos Tour Down Under in 2008 and 2012, where his trademark sprint power was on display for the locals lining the South Australian roads.
Speaking of his ‘special relationship’ with the event ahead of its 20th staging, Greipel is looking forward to return for his first race in Adelaide since 2014.
“It’s a pleasure for me to go back, as it was always good to start a hopefully successful season,” Greipel said.
“It is a really established and professionally organised race with riders of high quality taking part and I have seen the race develop over the years to a high standard WorldTour event – an example for race organisers globally.
“The first wins and points to earn for my team and I would be nice, and of course I’m looking forward to the fantastic atmosphere.
The former German national road race champion will headline Belgian outfit Lotto-Soudal in the event, and is the second major rider announcement since the return of triple UCI World Road Champion Peter Sagan was confirmed in October.
Return will make 10 years since Greipel’s first win
South Australian Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell expects having two of world cycling’s major names returning to Adelaide will help push the event towards its one-millionth spectator at the 2018 tour.
But he believes having “one of the greatest cyclists of his generation” return on the 10-year anniversary of his inaugural Tour victory is particularly significant.
“Having big name cyclists like André Greipel on board will be a huge drawcard for cycling fans and help the Santos Tour Down Under reach the one million spectator mark, in honour of the 20th anniversary of the event,” Minister Bignell said.
“It’s great to have André returning to South Australia, 10 years after he first took out a Tour Down Under title and as a two time overall TDU winner and record-holder for most stage wins, he has a special relationship with the race and the fans.
“The 2008 Tour was André’s first major win as well as a historic moment in the race’s history, as he took out the overall classification by just seven seconds – it was this race that set the scene for the many victories that would come after.
“I can’t wait to see this German superstar take to the TDU star line next year and go head-to-head with… UCI World Road Champion Peter Sagan.”
Greipel’s pedigree as a proven grand tour stage winner – he has won 11 Tour de France stages, seven in the Giro d’Italia and four in the Vuelta a Espana – means his return will bring significant start power to the event, according to race director Mike Turtur.
“I can still remember André’s overall win in 2008,” Turtur said.
“He took the general classification by just seconds on Aussie Allan Davis – it was the start of an amazing season for André.
“After the 2008 TDU victory at the start of his season, Greipel went on to his first Grand Tour stage win at the Giro d’Italia so, the we’ve always provided him with a strong start to his season.
“There’s no question André and his team always mean business when they come to race here.
“The explosive power of these cyclists is a force to be reckoned with, and we know how much fans enjoy watching Greipel storm home for a sprint finish, so we hope he can add to his Santos Tour Down Under stage win record next January.”
The 2018 Santos Tour Down Under runs from 13-21 January 2018.
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