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With 158 career wins, including 22 in grand tours, André Greipel is one of the best sprinters of his generation, carving out space for himself among other greats like Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel. But after 16 years as a professional, the 39-year-old German is calling it a career at the end of this season. He joins Bobby & Jens this week, reflecting on his life and storied career all the way from his childhood in East Germany to becoming one of the top sprinters of his generation.
André got started in cycling early, first trying out track cycling at 10 years old. By the time he was 15 or 16, he realized that he was truly faster than the rest. And after focusing on the bike over soccer, he developed into the prodigious winner we all know today.
Being a WorldTour sprinter isn’t all racking up wins on flat stages, though. It also requires hanging on through the world’s hardest climbs. André gives his insights into surviving the mountain stages of a grand tour as a world class sprinter who excels at high speed on the flats, but not so much on the uphill. “You never suffer alone,” he says of the gruppetto. Although, you probably didn’t know that he was once something of a climber—But “that was 15 kilos ago,” he jokes.
He also reveals how time has impacted his sprint. The wins are few and far between in recent seasons, but at 39 years old the watts that won him all those stages are still in his legs; it’s the mental aspect of sprinting that has changed for him.
André also talks about his next phase in life and reveals his worries about the up and coming cyclists burning out early in their careers. Hear why he thinks in 15 years there won’t be any more 35-year-old professionals.
Listen to the latest episode of Bobby & Jens for the full conversation!
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.