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.
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.