John Degenkolb takes the first home victory in the Vattenfall Cyclassics in a decade
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

John Degenkolb takes the first home victory in the Vattenfall Cyclassics in a decade

by Ben Atkins at 11:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Vattenfall Cyclassics
 

john degenkolb

John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) took the first home win in the Vattenfall Cyclassics since Erik Zabel in 2001, with a long sprint victory in the centre of Hamburg. The 24-year-old German managed to hold off the attentions of national champion André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) as they sprinted side by side to the line, with former Norwegian champion Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) taking third just behind.

“The team did a great job the whole day today,” said Degenkolb at the finish. “I felt really good during the race and had some good power left at the finish and the team believed in me today.
 
“On the run-in the team were great,” the German sprinter continued. “We had to bring back a strong move and then they dropped me of perfectly for the sprint.
 
“It was a hectic one as it was quite narrow but that is the perfect sprint for me. If the sprint was after 180km I would be not have been able to win, but after such an exhausting long race I can do this.
 
“In the final metres I followed my instinct and went with 220m to go and it was just the right time for me to hold on and beat Greipel.
 
“This win is a big highlight for me, winning one of the biggest races in my own country means a lot to me,” Degenkolb added.

The early break of the 246km came from Michael Schwarzmann (NetApp-Endura), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Christophe Kern (Europcar) and Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Saxo-Tinkoff), who escaped in the first minutes of the race, and were already 6’30” ahead at the 15km point. The quartet’s lead was to reach a maximum of eight minutes but, as Lotto-Belisol and FDJ.fr led the peloton behind, it was down to 3’30” as they hit the climb of the Waseberg for the first time after 137km.

The first passage of finish line after 152km saw the break’s lead cut to just three minutes and, shortly afterwards, they were joined by the counterattacking group of Koen De Kort (Argos-Shimano), Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida), Michal Golas and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Mathew Hayman (Team Sky), Daryl Impey and Jens Keukeleire(Orica-GreenEdge), Michel Koch (Cannondale), Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM), Yoann Offredo (FDJ.fr) and Simone Ponzi (Astana).

Garmin-Sharp and BMC Racing were attentively leading the peloton behind the new, larger group, however. Crossing the line for a second time with 53km to go, it was just 20 seconds ahead, and was caught just a few kilometres later.

Immediately the break was over Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) jumped clear alone and was quickly allowed to open a 15 second lead. There were several counterattacks from behind the Italian, but none was successful until Rick Flens (Belkin) managed to escape with 45km to go, and the Belgian soon managed to jump across the gap.

The two fugitives were allowed to dangle 20 seconds ahead of the peloton, but began to widen the gap as they approached the Waseberg once more. Having reached 40 seconds, however, Team Sky came forward to pull the duo back, and they were caught as the climb of the Falkensteiner began.

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) attacked immediately his teammate was caught, and was joined by Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing), Ian Stannard (Team Sky), Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM) over the top of the Waseberg. Quinziato dropped back almost immediately, and passed by the counterattacking trio of Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and Ion Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

This trio was joined by Cesare Benadetti (NetApp-Endura) and Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida), but was having trouble closing the gap to the strong quartet up front. With 25km to go, the gap was 15 seconds to the chase group, with another 15 seconds to the peloton.

Eventually, on the approach to the final climb of the Waseberg, the five-man chase group made contact with the four leaders, but the peloton was now just 25 seconds behind.

Izagirre accelerated as the steepest part of the climb began, with the chase of the Euskaltel-Euskadi rider putting Vanmarcke in trouble. As they neared the top, however, it was Terpstra that managed to escape and began the descent alone, with 15km to go.

The former Netherlands champion was 15 seconds clear of the rest of the group as he began the flat run towards the centre of Hamburg, while the peloton was snapping at the heels of the break.

BMC Racing and Argos-Shimano were working hard on the front of the peloton, and finally caught the eight chasers with just over nine kilometres to go, and Terpstra himself was swept up just a kilometre later as RadioShack-Leopard hit the front.

RadioShack continued to lead the peloton, with several Katusha riders lined up behind, but Vacansoleil-DCM took control with four kilometres to go. Inside the final three kilometres, four FDJ.fr riders pulled forward with Arnaud Démare at their rear, but Katusha took over in force as the French team lost its momentum.

FDJ.fr’s Offredo managed to get to the front with just over a kilometre to go, but had only Argos-Shimano riders lined up behind him as he pulled off. Daniele Bennatti (Saxo-Tinkoff) was the first to launch his sprint, but the Italian was overtaken by Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) as he quickly faded.

Degenkolb then hit the front, but looked to have gone too early as Greipel and Elia Viviani (Cannondale) began to move alongside him. The German fastman, who took a stage in the Giro d’Italia after sprinting for almost the entire final kilometre, once again demonstrated his stamina, however, and took the victory by almost a bike length.

Result
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team
4. Jose Joaquim Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
6. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
8. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
9. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ.fr
10. Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff

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