Hanover, July 16, 2012. One of the true stars of this 99th Tour de France is riding to victory in the competition again this year on Continental high-tech racing tires: “Continental currently offers the best equipment in the industry for both wet and dry conditions,” said Germany’s current top sprinter, André Greipel, right at the start of the tour, singing the praises of his “shoes”, which were specially crafted in Korbach. On July 14 – Bastille Day in France – the best tire equipment on wheels proved once again just how valuable it can be during the fierce battle of the sprinter kings right down to the millisecond: The Rostock-born rider, who now lives on the Swiss side of Lake Constance, beat Czech speed demon, Liquigas’ own Peter Sagan, across the finish line by a mere 34 centimeters, thus securing the 13th stage win from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Le Cape d’Agde – his third stage victory so far this year.
Today, the man from the Baltic Sea celebrated his 30th birthday taking part in the “big loop”. The performance of his super-speedy tires during this year’s tour has helped him achieve the milestone of one stage win for each decade of his life in the world’s most challenging cycling race. And if Greipel could wish for anything on his special day, he would already have the perfect gift in mind: “I want to make it to the end of the tour come what may. A victory in the closing stage of the Tour de France in Paris would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to a cyclist with my level of ability.”
This latest triumphant ride by the world’s best sprinter on the “black gold” from the Continental tire experts continues the run of excellent performances by the professional cyclists from the racing teams BMC Racing, Lotto Belisol, Movistar and Orica GreenEdge Cycling. They are all once again putting their trust in the Continental creations until July 22. Greipel’s teammate, Jurgen van den Broeck, has so far managed to extricate himself beautifully from all manner of dangerous situations, and is having an impressive Tour de France. Currently holding down fifth place in the overall classification, the Belgian has every chance of achieving exactly what his captain, Greipel, referred to right at the beginning of the “Grande boucle”: “We will do everything in our power to ensure that Jurgen is up on that podium in Paris.” This means that the ranked rider will have to achieve nothing less than to work his way up to one of the top 3 spots by the end of the race.
Last year’s winner, Cadel Evans, whose US team BMC Racing is also using products from Korbach, looks in a good position to pounce again as the peloton gets set to enter the Pyrenees. The 35-year-old Aussie is one spot ahead of van den Broeck in the overall rankings in fourth. Also, with an impressive display of cycling, Tejay van Garderen – the 23-year-old from the USA and also part of Evans’ BMC Racing team – has held down his title as best young professional in the white jersey in this year’s three-week tour. The youngest member of the team is still wearing the “maillot blanc” going into the mountain range bordering France and Spain with its terrifying stone giants. “But our main focus is to support Cadel during the upcoming difficult stages in the Pyrenees and put him as far ahead as possible,” said the young rider, committed to the ambitions of his captain and last year’s champion.
As things stand, the best-placed rider in the Spanish Movistar team, which is also riding on Continental tires, is Alberto Rui Costa (25). The winner of this year’s Tour de Suisse is ranked in 19th place – just within the Tour Top Twenty. This puts the Portuguese cyclist five places ahead of his Spanish captain, Alejandro Valverde. Currently flying the flag for Orica GreenEdge Cycling in the team’s topmost spot in the rankings is Dutchman Pieter Wening. The Australian racing team in the yellow and green jerseys is hoping to once again push a fast man into the limelight for the last few meters in the upcoming flat stretches with either Stuart O’Grady or Matthew Goss.