Degenkolb unsure how to feel about Worlds fourth place
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Degenkolb unsure how to feel about Worlds fourth place

by Kyle Moore at 6:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
German sprinter survives the Cauberg but can’t quite crack the medals

John DegenkolbJohn Degenkolb (Germany), winner of five stages of the recently completed Vuelta a España, finished the best of the pure sprinters in the World Road Race Championships, coming home fourth.

The 23-year-old lost out to winner Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), along with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain), who rounded out the podium. Degenkolb did the best he could to capitalize on the work put in by his German team-mates in the final two laps around Valkenburg. The Germans were not often able to cover breakaways, as several major ones escaped throughout the day with no Germans in it, but the squad chose to play all of its cards on the final ascent of the Cauberg.

Like most others, Degenkolb wasn’t able to answer the attack by Gilbert, and the fact that Boasson Hagen and Valverde were able to try doomed Degenkolb from the medal stand.

The emotions of the young German were understandably mixed afterward.

“This is bitter. You do not get many chances to be the world champion,” he muttered. “That I couldn’t go with the attack of Gilbert was clear, but I would have liked to take a medal. It’s a bit annoying at the moment, but we had previously said that we would be content with a place in the top ten.”

Degenkolb hung in with the chasing group behind Boasson Hagen and Valverde, sitting behind an Italian lead out for Oscar Gatto. He won the sprint easily, but still came in just behind Valverde.

“Fourth place is the first loser, but on the other hand, my performance gives me great motivation for next year,” he added. “But of course I would have liked to have given a medal back to my team, because they worked so great. We have shown that we can make a race.

“Sure fourth place is a wooden medal, and we shouldn’t hide that we’re disappointed, but it is not a disaster.”

Germans Simon Geschke and Johannes Fröhlinger were instrumental in setting up Degenkolb, while Fabian Wegmann was the second best German finisher, in 27th. Geschke’s attitude was more upbeat.

“I am very satisfied with the race. We didn’t make any mistakes and we narrowly missed a medal,” Geschke said according to

The German Cycling Federation will leave the Netherlands with two gold medals – both earned in the individual time trial, by Tony Martin and Judith Arndt.

“We were hoping for two medals, so we can be very satisfied with our result,” added German Cycling Federation vice president Udo Sprenger. “In the men’s road race we had Degenkolb who was fourth and barely missed a medal, but in the race the boys absolutely convinced us, and showed a great team performance.”


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