Paris-Tours heroics secure John Degenkolb the overall Europe Tour
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Monday, October 8, 2012

Paris-Tours heroics secure John Degenkolb the overall Europe Tour

by Ben Atkins at 11:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Twelve victories net Argos-Shimano’s German sprinter season-long title

john degenkolbIt may not have been quite enough to earn him victory in the Sprinters’ Classic, but Argos-Shimano fast man John Degenkolb’s late attempt to bridge across to the three race leaders in yesterday’s Paris-Tours was enough to secure him overall victory in the Europe Tour. With only three races left in the Continental calendar, the 30 points he earned for fourth place on Tours’ Avenue de Grammont raised the 23-year-old German’s points lead over his rivals to an unassailable level.

With less than ten kilometres remaining Degenkolb attacked from the peloton and bridged across to a group containing his teammate Roy Curvers but, when the group was still almost 30 seconds behind the three leaders, he attacked again to try to bridge himself. It was a heroic action which, had it succeeded, would have meant a sprinter had won the Sprinters’ Classic in the most un-sprinter-like way possible; he just couldn’t close the gap however, and crossed the line six seconds behind Vacansoleil-DCM’s victorious Marco Marcato.

“I only thought about winning the race," Degenkolb said afterwards. "Unfortunately I couldn’t close the gap, but I’m happy the fourth place was enough for me to win the Europe Tour.”

In all, Degenkolb has taken 12 victories in 2012 but, since five of those were stages of the Vuelta a España, and one was a stage of the Tour of Poland - both of which are part of the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour - only six of them counted towards the EuropeTour ranking. Instead, his fourth place in last month’s World championship road race - which wouldn’t have been counted if Degenkolb was part of a WorldTour team - was his biggest single points win, with 130, while his victories in the Grand Prix d'Isbergues and the Tour de Picardie earned him 80 points each.

The UCI has yet to officially announce the final ranking, since it is only updated on a monthly basis, but 32 points each for Degenkolb’s third places in last week’s Binche-Tournai-Binche and Paris-Bourges - plus the 30 from Paris-Tours - added to his September total of 502 - give him a season-long total of 596.

"I have had a very good year,” he acknowledged. “As a team we worked hard and achieved great victories. I’m very proud of what we’ve done. This [is] very motivating for next year."

Argos-Shimano was invited to most of the biggest races this season but, should its application to join the WorldTour in 2013 be successful, it will be present at all of them. With Degenkolb’s compatriot and teammate Marcel Kittel also taking 12 victories this season, both German sprinters will be aiming big again next season.

"Just like this year, I’m going to focus on the spring classics,” said Degenkolb. “After that it would great to ride the Tour de France.”


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