On July 16th, 1982 I was born as the second child to Gudrun and Bernd Greipel in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. I grew up together with my sister Claudia in Kritzmow, a suburb of Rostock. I had a high interest in sports and discovered cycling at the age of ten. I began cycling through PSV Rostock. At that time, the team was looking for young talents. I had my first training session with Peter Sager, my trainer at the time, who has become a friend, on the dirt tracks. Because it was winter, I had to run the distance of two kilometres – lapping all of the other kids once. Peter Sager then told me to come back and that they would make a cyclist out of me.
I have never lost the joy in cycling. Our sponsors at the time were always supportive and made it possible for us to participate in all of the races in Germany. In 2002 I switched teams and started competing with the U23 TEAG Team Köstritzer, with whom I continued to compete in top-class races.
At the same time I began my vocational training as an office administrator. That is also when I met my wife Tina.
The years in U23 were successful for me personally, but not always easy. It was a balancing act between Köstritzer, the national team, my education and my training. In my last year of U23 our daughter Anna Sophie was born. That was the greatest day of my life. From that day on I knew that I had to be very good, because I was now responsible for a family.
In 2005 I joined Team Wiesenhof. My first professional year was very exciting and I realised quickly that I still had a lot left to learn. That year I also won a stage in the Denmark tour and the sprint jersey in the Rhineland-Palatinate tour. I then signed the contract with Team T-Mobile and thus my greatest dream came true: I had arrived in the Champions League of cycling.
In TEAG Team Köstritzer I was among the most successful racing cyclists.
Having won two German championship titles at junior level, I went on to present myself at a number of tours. At the U23 Thuringia tour in 2002 and at the GP Tell respectively, I won the sprint jerseys. With help from my team, I won the U23 race “Rund um Köln” around Cologne, was stage winner at the Thuringia tour and the Tour de Berlin. I also won the U23 World Cup race in Waregem. In 2004 I won four stages at international tours. One year later I won another stage at the Denmark tour. In 2006 I joined Team T-Mobile. Together we achieved two stage wins at the Rhineland-Palatinate tour. The same year I celebrated my greatest international victory at the time at the Vuelta a España, having surrendered only to the Norwegian Thor Hushovd at the sprint on the sixth stage. At the Tour Down Under in 2008 I won four stages and the start criterion of the tour. With me on position one, my team won in the overall ranking. Thereafter I led the individual ranking in the UCI ProTour. I was able to defend the leader’s jersey of the UCI ProTour until the Amstel Gold Race in April. At the end of the season I came fifth in the cyclist standings of the championship – right after Roman Kreuziger. On September 1st, 2009, I won the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España, although all but the first seven cyclists were involved in a mass crash. After a rest day I continued to win the fifth stage on September 3rd, 2009, when my team prevailed in the mass sprint. As a result I started with the golden leader’s jersey the next day. On September 15th, 2009 I won the 16th stage of the Vuelta a España.
In 2010 I won the overall ranking of the Tour Down Under and another three stages thanks to my functioning team. In February we celebrated stage wins in a number of smaller races. In April the team and I won five stages and the sprint jersey of the Turkey tour. In May I won the 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia in the sprint. In August of the same year I also won two stages of the Tour de Pologne and the Eneco Tour. For the 2010 season I had amassed 21 points. The HTC-Colombia sports management hat not nominated me for the classics Milan-San Remo or the Tour de France. I therefore joined the Omega Pharma-Lotto team for the 2011 season, where I took on responsibility as sprint captain. The first start at the Tour de France followed. On July 12th, 2011, I won the tenth stage before Mark Cavendish in the sprint. I then went on to win the bronze medal for Germany at the road racing world cup in Copenhagen on September 25th, 2011. At the Tour de France in 2012 I won another three stages and a lot of goose bumps.