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Andre Greipel joins Fortuneo-Samsic on two-year deal

Joe Robinson
2 Aug 2018

German set to drop out of WorldTour but still hungry for wins at highest level

Andre Greipel has joined French ProContinental team Fortuneo-Samsic in a two-year deal, ending an eight-year association with Belgium's Lotto-Soudal that yielded 16 Grand Tour stage wins.

Relationships soured between Greipel and Lotto-Soudal as it became apparant that neither party could agree on the terms of a new contract. Rumours of the rider's potential departure gathered further pace with reports that the team was interested in signing Caleb Ewan in his departure from Mitchelton-Scott.

The 36-year-old's exit from the Belgian WorldTour team was finally confirmed before the Tour de France in a statement that read, 'Lotto Soudal and Andre Greipel want to inform you that after eight successful years, their collaboration comes to an end.'

Since then, Greipel had been linked to various WorldTour teams but it was ProContinental outfit Fortuneo-Samsic that announced the signature today. 

The French team, which launched in 2005, reached ProContinental level in 2011 and made their Tour de France debut in 2014 under the guise of Bretagne-Seche Enviroment. They have taken part in every Tour since, though they're still waiting for a first stage win.

Last year the team signed two-time Tour stage winner Warren Barguil as a marquee signing, but the Frenchman was unable to match his 2017 form in this year's Tour.

Signing Greipel is arguably even more of a coup for the Breton-based team. The German has competed at cycling's top tier for over a decade, riding for T-Mobile, HTC-Columbia and Omega Pharma-Lotto in the process. During his eight season stint with Lotto-Soudal, the German has managed 93 victories including 11 stages of the Tour de France.

This suggests that the move down to ProContinental level will require a change of focus for the German who has often built entire seasons around Grand Tours. However, despite being in the twilight of his career, Greipel believes this move could inject fresh energy into his riding.

'I wanted to confront myself with something else, we must put ourselves in danger to continue to progress. I expect a lot from my new formation, I want to be inspired by his young and free spirit but I also expect confidence, commitment, and a team spirit,' Greipel commented.

'Cycling is a team sport, to win you have to have a strong team. I will strive to advance this talented young generation while pursuing my personal goals.'

For Fortuneo-Samsic, the signature of Greipel represents good business, something that team manager Emmanuel Hubert was keen to underline.

Hubert stated, 'He is one of the riders whom all the managers follow attentively, he has 153 victories among the professionals since 2005, 22 Grand Tour victories in his career, it does not go unnoticed! This year he has won six times. By coming into our training, André Greipel makes a bold choice. At age 36, he offers himself a new youth.

'He will discover a new team but also a new country and new races. Personally, I cannot wait to see him evolve with our jersey on major races like the Tour de France, but also on our French calendar.'

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