Henderson rapt with role in Tour win

By Roger Vaughan, NZ Newswire Updated July 5, 2012, 9:41 am

No one was going to stop the Lotto-Belisol express this time.

New Zealander Greg Henderson felt he had won himself after helping pilot star German teammate Andre Greipel to the win in stage four of the Tour de France.

Henderson and his teammates had also set up Greipel perfectly at the end of stage two, but world champion Mark Cavendish brilliantly used their lead-out train and darted past them at the line.

Cavendish was jockeying for position again behind the Lotto-Belisol formation with less than three kilometres left on Wednesday when he was caught in a massive crash.

Henderson's reaction to the pileup was equal parts sympathy and ruthlessness.

"I heard it, it happened behind - you can imagine it'd be a s*** fight behind Greipel's wheel, they all want the Lotto lead-out," he said.

"It's a fight, you touch wheels at 60km/h, s*** happens quite quickly."

Lotto-Belisol undoubtedly have the best lead-out formation among the sprinters' teams at this Tour.

After the crash, there were four Lotto-Belisol riders in the select front group, including Henderson and of course Greipel, and their finish was textbook.

"It feels like I won a stage," Henderson said.

"This is just the biggest show on earth, isn't it?

"We've done the train two times perfectly.

"It looks easy to get four or five guys in a line, but trust me, it's not easy."

At 36, this is Henderson's Tour debut and after waiting for so long in his career, he is relishing the experience.

The husband of retired Australian track cycling star Katie Mactier said whatever Greipel needs in a sprint, he is there to provide.

"If your job is to finish at 200m, then you just go to 200m and pull off," he said.

"If it feels like you need to go longer, then you go longer.

"You just find an extra couple of pedal strokes to ride that little harder or go that little further."

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