Israel Start-Up Nation was in the mix once again on stage 10 of the Tour de France as André Greipel took seventh place in the bunch sprint.
With a windy weather forecast, everybody was a bit nervous and uncertain of what to expect from Tuesday’s 190.7 km long stage from Albertville to Valence. On paper, this was a day for the sprinters, but with strong crosswinds on the final part, anything could happen.
The team plan was always to go for Greipel in the sprint. The fast German had already won on this finish in the Tour in the past and he was eager to give it another go today.
Taking on the last couple of kilometers, Greipel found himself in a good position. Unfortunately, he got boxed in towards the end and had to start his sprint from far down. Greipel had the highest top speed on the final 500 meters, but ultimately had to settle for seventh place – with a feeling that it could have been much more today.
André Greipel: “We were always well-prepared for the crosswind sections today. Unfortunately, at a certain moment we got swamped and got out of position. Then we found ourselves in the second group and had to pull with G [Boivin], Rick [Zabel] and Omer [Goldstein] to make it back. I also had to pull, which cost me a bit of energy, but I still felt very confident today.
“When we made it back, Rick brought me to the front with 3-4 km to go. From then on, I chose the wheel of Van Aert. I stayed there the whole time but I lost it at the end when I got boxed in. It never really opened up again after that but I still wanted to do the best sprint possible. At the end, I’m happy with my sprint but not with the result.
“Actually, feeling wise, this was one of the best sprints I’ve done this season. Just not the best result.”