John Degenkolb takes Tour de Picardie opener in bunch sprint
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Friday, May 11, 2012

John Degenkolb takes Tour de Picardie opener in bunch sprint

by Ben Atkins at 1:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
German sprinter carries Dunkerque form into the next French stage race

john degenkolbJohn Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) managed to hold onto the form that saw him take two stages - and finish third overall - in the Quartre Jours de Dunkerque, and sprint to victory in the opening stage of the Tour de Picardie. The 23-year-old German outsprinted Japanese rival Takashi Miyazawa (Saxo Bank), with Sébastien Chavanel (Team Europcar) in third at the end of the 166.5km stage between Clermont and Braine.

“Our strong Chinese rider Cheng Ji worked very hard today to retrieve the attackers,” said Degenkolb afterwards. “Then the team protected me well and Tom Veelers gave me the perfect lead-out.

“That he finished fifth says it all,” he added. “I’m proud of the team. Today everything was one hundred percent right.”

Just 5.5km into the stage the Movistar duo of Jose Ivan Gutierrez and Jesus Herrada escaped with Saur-Sojasiun’s Jonathan Hivert; the trio was quickly joined by Cofidis’ Leonardo Duque, and were more than three minutes clear by the time they crossed the Côte de Mareuil-la-Motte after 40.5km.

The peloton was to allow them to get no further away however, with Argos-Shimano, FDJ-BigMat and AG2R La Mondiale combining to steadily reel them in, and they were just 30 seconds ahead as they crossed the line to start the 24km finishing circuit.

Herrada managed to survive over the top of Mont Hussard with just 19km but was captured soon afterwards. Yohann Gêne (Europcar) and Johan Le Bon (Bretagne-Schuller) escaped on the descent, and managed to pull 20 seconds clear, but they were pulled back by Argos-Shimano in the final two kilometres and the Dutch team launched Degenkolb to the line.

Time bonuses meant that the German sprinter took the first yellow jersey of the race.

Result stage 1
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Takashi Miyazawa (Jap) Team Saxo Bank
3. Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
5. Tom Veelers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
6. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team
7. Benoit Drujon (Fra) Auber 93
8. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-BigMat
9. Justin Jules (Fra) Véranda Rideau-Super U
10. Kevin Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

Standings after stage 1
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Takashi Miyazawa (Jap) Team Saxo Bank
3. Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar
4. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Movistar Team
5. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
6. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
7. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
9. Tom Veelers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
10. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team

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