First race of the season, first victory of the year! That’s what happened to André Greipel today at Challenge Mallorca. The first Trofeo, almost 177 kilometres long, was an opportunity for the sprinters, Lotto Soudal and André Greipel grabbed it with both hands.
The riders were keen to start the European season, because right after the start numerous riders tried to escape, also Marcel Sieberg was part of a front group for a while. Eventually, three riders could create a sufficient gap: Gonçalves, Janorschke and Lizarralde. They didn’t get more than five minutes advantage, Lotto Soudal had it all under control. 25 kilometres before the finish the peloton reeled in the escapees. The finale wasn’t flat and that inspired some riders to attack. Xavier Cañellas got more than half a minute lead, but that wasn’t enough. In the sprint André Greipel was the fastest. Sam Bennett and Edvald Boasson Hagen were the numbers two and three.
André Greipel: “Everybody in our team was really motivated to start the season, both riders and staff. We did a recon of the course and knew what we had to do. Obviously, we didn’t want to let a big group get away. At a certain point eight to nine riders had a gap, but Marcel Sieberg was part of that group as well, so that situation wasn’t too bad for us. After lots of attacks there was a break of three riders. That it looked like we had it all under control? Actually, Frederik Frison had it all under control. He was pulling alone all day and controlled the three guys in front. A great job of him in his first race as member of our pro team!”
“We caught the leaders in time and my team did a very good lead-out for me. At the end it was all straight on, with the wind coming from the left. I hit the front with 200 metres to go and won. It’s really nice to start the season by winning your first race of the year. I’ll race again tomorrow and on Sunday. We have a strong team for the next days and we’ll aim for another victory.”