2008 Giro d’Italia stage 17: Greipel wins
Is Mark Cavendish so good that he’s already gifting sprints?
In the manner that High Road teammate André Greipel sprinted to victory ahead of Cavendish and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) ─ when Cavendish looked back to Bennati at least three times to check that the Italian wasn’t pulling through ─ it would seem so.
No way, says Greipel. The burly, 26-year-old bristled at the suggestion that the biggest victory of his professional career was handed to him by his younger teammate.
“I think he tried to pass me,” said an annoyed Greipel when pressed about Cavendish. “If you want to think it is like this, that’s fine with me. I know I am fast. If you’re a sprinter, you want to pass and win races.”
2008 Giro d’Italia stage 17: Contador still in pink
Alberto Contador (Astana) retained the maglia rosa to stay 41 seconds ahead of Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) as the GC riders stepped aside for the sprinter’s last dance in Wednesday’s 146km, 17th from Sondrio to Locarno.
High Road raced superbly to close down a breakaway and drive home the peloton in the final kilometers to set up the sprint, just the sixth in this year’s difficult Giro.
The U.S.-registered team is challenging the peloton’s established trains with their own formidable line-up.
The squad’s improving effectiveness was in full display on the fast run into Locarno, with Brad Wiggins and Tony Martin leading Greipel and Cavendish through two 90-degree turns in the final 500 meters.
As Martin barreled into the final turn with 250 meters to go, Greipel was in what looked like the lead-out position for Cavendish.
But the big German – who won four stages and the overall at the Tour Down Under – just put his head down and hammered all the way to the line. Greipel said there wasn’t a plan to let him win the stage.