André Greipel received bib number one hundred for the hundredth edition of the Giro d’Italia. It’s a special number and the German did it justice. Yesterday Pöstlberger outsmarted everyone, but today The Gorilla demonstrated his pure power and sprinted to victory. For the first time in his career he received the pink jersey.

Today the German champion claimed his 22nd stage win in a Grand Tour. In twelve consecutive Grand Tours he won at least one stage. So far Greipel has won seven Giro stages.

The second stage went 221 kilometres throughout the up-and-down Sardinian landscape. The stage started in Olbia and finished in Tortolì. It didn’t take long before a breakaway was established. Teklehaimanot, Koshevoy, Andreetta, Owsian and Shalunov were the escapees of the day, after some attempts had failed earlier. Four of the five riders stayed ahead until the last climb, only Andreetta was already dropped before the climb.

On paper the Genna Silana, a second category climb of almost twenty kilometres, seemed ideal to decide the race, but there were no big accelerations from the bunch. An almost complete peloton started the descent of around thirty kilometres. Bahrain – Merida determined the pace in the descent and got the peloton completely stretched out, causing trouble for some riders, including Zakarin. In the last kilometres the teams of the sprinters could organise themselves. André Greipel was well-placed at the front of the bunch, surrounded by his teammates.

Jasper De Buyst pulled the sprint rather early with an enormous effort and André Greipel finished it off in style. Roberto Ferrari became second and Jasper Stuyven finished third.  Tomorrow Greipel will defend his pink jersey in a new sprint stage.

André Greipel: “It’s an honour to win a stage in the Giro and to wear the pink jersey. There are a few moments in your career as a sprinter where you can get hold of the leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour. You can feel a euphoric pink atmosphere here in Italy and even more because it’s the one hundred edition. They are totally in love with cycling so to wear this pink jersey on stage was an incredible feeling.”

“We didn’t really count on a sprint today but obviously we had a plan. We hoped a small group would escape from the bunch and that Bora would control the gap, and they did. The pace on the long climb was doable. I expected more attacks from the better descenders inthe bunch, but the headwind on the climb and in the finale played in the advantage of the sprinters.”

“In the descent it was important to stay focused and not to be surprised by splits in the peloton. In the finale I pushed myself forward and with the support of my teammates I reached the front of the bunch. We got an unexpected opportunity to sprint again. Just like yesterday, at four and a halve kilometres from the finish, there was a crucial point with small and twisty roads. It was key to be at the front of the bunch and we were. Jasper De Buyst pulled the sprint well, but I felt I would end up too early in front, so I let Mezgec in between. I ended up winning the stage and this was an amazing feeling.”

“For the team and myself this is very special. It has been a difficult season so far. A Belgian team is expected to show itself in the Classics and we didn’t this year. Our next goal was to straighten our backs for the rest of the season and this is a great start. To be honest, our Giro is already a success but of course now we want more. But let us enjoy this victory and the pink jersey first.”

Stage wins André Greipel in Grand Tours

Giro 2008

Stage 17: Sondrio – Locarno

Vuelta 2009

Stage 3: Venlo – Liège

Stage 4: Tarragona – Vinaroz (leader’s jersey for 2 days)

Stage 15: Córdoba – Puertollano

Stage 20: Rivas – Madrid

Points classification

Giro 2010

Stage 18: Levico Terme – Brescia

Tour 2011

Stage 10: Aurillac – Carmaux

Tour 2012

Stage 4: Abbeville – Rouen

Stage 5: Rouen – Saint-Quentin

Stage 13 : Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Cap d’Agde

Tour 2013

Stage 6 : Aix-en-Provence – Montpellier

Tour 2014

Stage 6 : Arras – Reims

Giro 2015

Stage 6 : Montecatini Terme – Castiglione della Pescaia

Tour 2015

Stage 2 : Utrecht – Neeltje Jans

Stage 5 : Arras – Amiens

Stage 15: Mende – Valence

Stage 21 : Sèvres – Paris

Giro 2016

Stage 5 : Praia a Mare – Benevento

Stage 7: Sulmona – Foligno

Stage 12: Noale – Bibione

Tour 2016

Stage 21: Chantilly – Paris

Giro 2017

Stage 2: Olbia – Tortolì