André Greipel has confirmed that he will join Omega-Lotto for the 2011 season, ending speculation that he was going to leave HTC-Columbia and his intra-squad rivalry with Mark Cavendish.
Greipel posted the news on his Web page over the weekend and will likely get his shot at the Tour de France and will go head-to-head against Cavendish next year.
“In recent weeks there has been a lot of speculation about my upcoming move to another team,” Greipel wrote. “Now it is clear at last, from January 1, 2011, I will have Omega Pharma-Lotto on my jersey.”
Greipel, 28, said the terms of the deal are agreed upon and a contract should be signed in the coming days.
The German sprinter currently leads the pro standings with 16 wins on the 2010 season. David McCann is second with 10 wins on the year and Cavendish, who led last season with 23 wins, currently ranks fifth with eight victories.
Greipel sprang to prominence in his break-through 2008 season when he won 14 races, including the overall at the Tour Down Under and a stage at the Giro d’Italia. Last year, Greipel fought back from a broken shoulder to notch 20 victories, including four stages and the points jersey at the Vuelta a España.
Greipel’s rise coincided with Cavendish, who’s emerged as the best sprinter of his generation. The two were vying for the support of the powerful HTC-Columbia squad, which wisely backed Cavendish, who has delivered 15 stage victories in the past three editions of the Tour de France.
Greipel couldn’t hide his disappointment at not being selected for HTC-Columbia’s Tour team this year and will try his luck at Omega Pharma-Lotto in what’s expected to be a two-year deal.
Greipel had nothing but kind words for his HTC-Columbia teammates, saying that “he would like to sincerely thank them all.”
Cavendish is expected to start the Vuelta with HTC-Columbia. No official start list has been revealed by the team.