Andre Greipel could pedal no more 30 kilometers into the TDF 18th stage.
Whoever followed Andre Greipel in this TDF couldn’t help but join his massive army of fans.
This was a fight for the brave. Day in and day out, refusing to give up. “I will never quit before giving it all,” he told us two days ago.
He was true to his word—all the way. The crash on the first day of the Tour cost him mightily, robbed him of his power, and caused him a lot of pain. He was able to overcome that with sheer willpower and with the hope to recover to the sprint stages. And he was rewarded with a 6th place finish last week.
But then came a cold and viral infection on the rest day. He still refused to consider giving up without a fight: “I have a responsibility as a father to show my kids that you cannot quit until you have nothing left,” he told us during the rest day. Even this morning, when he knew that he was facing another punishing stage, he insisted on starting.
When we saw him in the first category climb, it was clear the big man could hardly pedal. “It’s a common cold and sinusitis. His body is fighting a viral infection and inflammation,” explained our team Doctor Ortwin Schafer. “He will rest and recover now. The man is a champion.”
It’s sad in a way because we know Greipel deserves to fulfill his dream of getting to the Champs-Elysees once more and sprinting for a heroic win for himself and team ISN. “I know it may very well be my last Tour,” he told us in an interview days ago.