• Andre Greipel celebrates his second stage victory at the 2018 Ovo Tour of Britain (AAP)Source: AAP
Andre Greipel claimed his second stage victory of the Tour of Britain, spurred on by what are his last days in the colours of a team he’s competed with for almost a decade.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
6 Sep 2018 - 9:03 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2018 - 9:04 AM

Greipel (Lotto Soudal) outpaced Sacha Modolo (EF Education First – Drapac) and race leader Patrick Bevin (BMC Racing) in a bunch sprint to win Stage 4 and notch his eighth conquest of the season.

The 183.5km trek from Nuneaton to Royal Leamington Spa was straightforward with a six-man escape let off the leash early and then inevitably brought back.

“I think everybody was a little bit tired from the last three days so all the teams, the main teams, they expected a bunch sprint and they saved energy for the team time trial tomorrow. Even if it’s not easy to control the breakaway we still could manage together with Quick-Step and Mitchelton-Scott,” Greipel said.

“The guys worked really well to keep me up in front, especially Jasper de Buyst again. He did a really awesome job to keep me up there.

“My aim was to turn third, which worked out really well. My plan was to go full gas from the corner, even with 300m I knew I could make it. I’m happy with another win.”

Greipel has been racing since the Tour Down Under in January but doesn’t appear to be pining for the off-season like some of his contemporaries.

Talks to stay at Lotto Soudal, which has signed younger fast-man Caleb Ewan for 2019, broke down earlier this year and the ‘Gorilla’ will embark on a new chapter at Professional Continental squad Fortuneo-Samsic “solo” next season.

That imminent end and the unknown of a new beginning more than anything is apparently driving the 36-year-old, who previously has grappled with confidence.

“It’s not always about the condition, I think the mind is quite important. My mind is strong at the moment and the condition is okay. I always can sprint, it doesn’t matter what condition I have,” he said.

“Last week I said to myself, Okay, just try to enjoy every race now in this kit, and that’s my aim. I really like this group around and enjoy every day we are travelling together because there are not so many races after the Tour of Britain.”

Greipel will start from scratch in terms of building a sprint train at Fortuneo-Samsic but overnight had a list of experienced names to acknowledge.

“When it comes down to sprints we have a good team here with Moreno Hofland and Jasper de Buys, really experienced guys to set me up. Jens Keukeleire worked all day in front, together with [Quick-Step Floor’s] Iljo Keisse. You have to name that also because he comes back from injury and is making a huge performance here already now,” he said.  

Plucky Bevin retains Tour of Britain lead

Bevin was arguably just as plucky as the German in the final, leading the sprint for line honours. The former New Zealand national time trial champion was fighting for bonus seconds he believes will be vital in keeping the leader’s jersey in a race, which has an uphill team time trial tonight (AEST) and mountaintop finish on Friday.

“It was an interesting bunch finish, having a corner with 350m to go. It was always going to be a bit dicey, so I made the call before the stage to come out of there first. I wasn’t going to win it from there, but I came third and picked up bonus seconds,” Bevin said.

“We had a plan this morning to ensure there were no surprises today. The break was quite tough to pull back; if the finish was a bit different it would have been hard, but the big, wide, windy roads did for them. My teammates looked after me really well and we were rewarded with a bit more time.” 

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