John Degenkolb pulls out Giro d’Italia through exhaustion
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Monday, May 13, 2013

John Degenkolb pulls out Giro d’Italia through exhaustion

by Ben Atkins at 1:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Long spring season catching up with German sprinter after a tough first week

john degenkolbJohn Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) has taken the decision to pull out of the Giro d’Italia on the first rest day of the race, as he struggles to recover from a tough first week. The 24-year-old German sprinter is making his debut in the race - having ridden the previous two editions of the Vuelta a España - and won the crash-disrupted fifth stage. Poor weather in recent days, along with the toughness of the route, has meant that he has been struggling for fitness.

“Before the Giro I said that I always want to finish a race, especially the Giro d’Italia, but not at all costs,” said Degenkolb. “It was the goal of my team and myself to start this race in top form, and we succeeded in doing so.”

Degenkolb won the crash-disrupted fifth stage after his lead out man Luka Mezgec slid off on the penultimate corner with just over a kilometre to go. The German sprinted alone for almost a kilometre to catch and pass Bardiani-CSF’s Marco Canola to add a Giro victory to his five taken at last year’s Vuelta.

Having started his season at the Tour of Qatar, however, Degenkolb has found that the Giro’s route, coupled with the weather conditions, he is struggling with recovery.

“After a very long and intensive block of racing from the beginning of February onward, I feel that it’s getting really hard to recover,” Degenkolb explained. “The first week in this Giro turned out to be very challenging and we also faced difficult weather conditions. This has had an impact on my body, and I am simply not fit anymore. I have to admit I am still very young, and I know that I will get stronger every year, so I have to swallow my pride and do what’s best for my body.

“Together with the team we have decided that I will travel home to recover first and then start working toward the next goals,” the 24-year-old added. “I’m proud to leave this beautiful race with a stage win. I will come back here.”

Degenkolb is the second Argos-Shimano rider to pull out of the Giro, after Cheng Ji - the first ever Chinese rider to appear in the race - abandoned through illness after stage five, but the team is to continue it’s aggressive race.

“Our tactic remains the same,” said sports manager Addy Engels. “With Luka Mezgec we have another strong finisher on board, and we will keep racing offensively—like we did yesterday, with young Tobias Ludvigsson riding a brilliant race and finishing fourth among the best riders, and also in the long and hard time trial, with Patrick Gretsch coming in 13th.

“I hope the remaining seven riders are able to make it to the end and develop themselves during these three weeks to grow into better and stronger riders.”


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