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Greipel sprints to opening Mallorca win

MADRID (AFP) — German sprinter André Greipel claimed victory on the first day of the four-race Mallorca Challenge on Thursday.

The Lotto-Soudal rider beat Irishman Sam Bennett and Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen in a sprint finish to win the 176.8km Trofeo Felantix-Ses Salines-Campos-Porreres.

A three-man breakaway formed by Germany’s Grischa Janorschke, Portugal’s Domingos Goncalves, and Spaniard Eneko Lizarralde built up a lead of over three minutes, but were eventually reigned in 35 kilometers from the finish.

Young Spanish rider Xavier Canellas also made a break for line 15 kilometers out, but was quickly neutralized as the peloton regrouped for a sprint finish.

And, in keeping with recent years, Greipel again made a quick start to the campaign as he was too good to claim the first stage on European soil this season. The series continues on Friday with the 153km Trofeo Pollenca-Andratx.