André Greipel shares the best memories of his cycling journey

André Greipel has been a German professional cyclist from 2005 to 2021. He has won the cycling road National championship of Germany three times (2013, 2014 and 2016) and he scored 11 stage wins on the Tour de France, 7 stage wins on the Giro d’Italia and 4 stage wins on la Vuelta.

Hello Mr Greipel,

Could you tell us how your passion for cycling began?

I’ve always liked to ride my bike and to make competitions against others. Cycling was always freedom for me.

Did you played other sports when you were a child ?

I also played football, I didn’t start cycling because I knew I was going to be a professional cyclist. I just liked it. I did every kind of sports like school sports, running, everything.

At what age did you decide you were going to be a professional cyclist ?

I did all the 4 years in U-23 but I was never sure to get a professional contract. I wanted to become professional so I was training hard, racing hard to be able to get a chance in the pro team.

You won the National Championship of Germany three times,  how does it feel it to win this race ?

It’s a special jersey for me. After the world championship jersey, I think it is the most beautiful jersey. And you can wear it for one year. Everybody knows that when you have these stripes around your chest, you won the Nationals before. It’s a nice thing when you win the championship, you are able to ride with this jersey for one year.

What type of qualities do you need to win this kind of championship?

Depend of what kind of rider you are and what parcours the championship is. Of course when I won, I was always good enough not to get dropped on the climbs and I was the fastest on the sprint. You have to be there at the right time and to be good enough on the parcours.

What is the best moment of your career ?

They were a lot of good moments, for sure. I can start with the first time competing in the Champs Elysées or being part of the Tour de France who was really a childhood dream becoming true at this moment. On the other side, I won a lot of races and every race has its own moment so it’s hard to really find the very best moment.

André Greipel win in the final stage of the Tour de France 2016 on Champs Elysées

What is the proudest moment in your career?

What I am most proud about is that I really have gotten to know of a lot of people, friends for life. And this is more important than any victory, this is why cycling is so special, you need to have good teammates to be successful. I am really proud of this that I got to know so many good teammates who tried their best for me to be successful. I think, this is the proudest thing you can have.

What is the most difficult race or stages that you won ?

Every time, there is a long uphill at any stage. I mean difficult is always when it is cold and raining. All this stuff is hard but at the end when you do cycling as a sport, you are able to suffer. You have to deal with the circumstances and the weather that is around you. I was never good in cold, raining weather, I never had good results there. For example Milan-San Remo in 2014, it was one of the hardest race I faced on the bike.

What is your best souvenir in the Tour de France ?

The best moment is always when you arrive the first time on the Champs Elysées, every Tour de France you have goosebumps. Every time you think about the Tour de France, you think about this moment, when the suffering is finished. You’ve reached the Tour and finished three hard weeks. It’s a very good memory from what I can say.

In 2017 you finished 7th in the race Paris-Roubaix, what is the most special part about this race for you ?

I think, it is a really fair race, it’s more of a really honest race let’s say. You have the chance when you have puncture to come back, then you keep fighting. This is what I like about this race, you need to be a complete rider to win a race like Paris-Roubaix. You need to be good in condition, good in sprints because you have to position yourself before the couple spots sectors. At the end, hopefully, you have a good sprint to get a good result. It’s one of the classics when bigger guys like me can be successful. I wasn’t successful but I tried my best to have a good result.

What was your training rhythm when you were a professional cyclist ?

In a season, a training week depends of what kind of race you are having on the week-end. Mostly during the week you try to recover and don’t make special training because the foundation is more in the winter, it’s the most important thing. You have to work hard in the winter to profit during the season. This is what I took always seriously, to be good in the winter, to train very hard. Then you can have a good season. In the winter, we have to train everyday, even in the rest day, you are doing some kind of training or core training. This is becoming more important now, that you need to be 24/7 into cycling otherwise you won’t be a good rider anymore. As a professional, you have to train between 20 to 30 hours.

How did the world of cycling change since your professional beginning in 2005 ?

A lot of things have change. We have electrical shifting, powermeters, sport nutrition is also a big evolution in cycling. We also have disk brakes on the bike now, aerodynamic jerseys and all these things make this sport even more awesome. I think power meters is the one thing that have the biggest impact on cycling.

What is the major difference between road cycling and cyclo-cross ?

Cyclo-cross is one hour full-gas. It’s more like a classic race let’s say. In one hour, you empty yourself and this is what I like, it’s a very nice sport cyclo-cross.

When you were professional, did you tried to participate in some of the cyclo-cross races ?

A bit but not so much, when I was professional maybe I did one or two races but just for fun in my area. It has nothing to do with what Van Aert and Van Der Poel are doing.

Do you think that participating to many cyclo-cross races has a good impact on the performances later in the season ?

I think, it is just a good extra training the high intensity in the cyclo-crosse races. It helps to bring some more intense trainings in the winter. It helps you to have better skills on the bike also. For sure, it will add something that will make you perform better in the road races.

Have you ever participated in some triathlon races ?

No, I did just one race but just for fun. It’s not my sport, I don’t like swimming !

What do you do now ?

I am a national coach for Germany so this is not as busy. I am also responsible for Uvex to develop new helmets and glasses and I am also team liaison for the Intermarché-Wanty team. I also do speeches and all this stuff. A lot of things still going on do. I cycle for fun but only in dry conditions!

Thank you very much Mr Greipel!