John Degenkolb looks back happy with World championship fourth
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

John Degenkolb looks back happy with World championship fourth

by Ben Atkins at 12:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Disappointment turns to pride as 23-year-old German sprinter reflects on achievement

john degenkolbImmediately after Sunday’s World championship road race, John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) was disappointed, almost angry, with his fourth place. On reflection however, two days later, the 23-year-old German sprinter is proud of his achievement in what was only his second Elite Worlds race.

Degenkolb was best of the rest, behind runaway winner Philippe Gilbert of Belgium and hard chasing silver and bronze medallists, Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway, and Alejandro Valverde of Spain.

"I have had a day to evaluate my race and what now prevails is pride", Degenkolb reasoned. "I had hoped for a top ten place.

“After my five stage wins at the Vuelta I was sure such a classification was possible. But with this performance I surpassed my own expectations."

The Vuelta saw Degenkold dominate the bunch sprints, taking five of the six stages on offer, but indications that he might be a contender in Vlakenberg came on one of the trickier stage finishes. Stage 19 into the hilltop finish at La Lastrilla saw the German break away as part of a six-man group on the steep rise to the finish. The group was eventually chased down - with the stage ironically won by Gilbert - but it showed that Degenkolb had nothing to fear from the climb of the Cauberg.

Unfortunately, positioning on the hectic final lap may have cost the German a chance of a medal, but it was not for the want of trying; from himself or his teammates.

"I wanted to be a little bit more further up to the front, but the descent to the foot of the Cauberg was really hectic,” he explained. “It was difficult to make up places. So I tried to move up at the beginning of the climb. That cost me some energy and when Philippe Gilbert attacked and the others answered, I simply couldn’t follow.

“Eventually Fabian Wegmann brought me back to the group behind Gilbert, Boasson Hagen and Valverde, but we were too late. If there wouldn’t had be a tailwind we could have grabbed those three back and things could have even turned out better for me."

Wegmann crossed the line at the back of the group, beating his bars in frustration after a hard day’s work from the German team, which had seen Degenkolb’s Argos-Shimano teammates Simon Geschke and Johannes Fröhlinger spending long periods on the front of the peloton.

"That was very strong and also very important. I rode the Vuelta with them and already knew they were in a real good shape."

Degenkolb will now sit out the autumn races in Lombardy, Italy, with his next races coming in October at Binche-Tournai-Binche/Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke in Belgium, and Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours in France, where he will be among the favourites for all three.

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