Degenkolb beats Hushovd in bunch sprint to make it three from three in the Tour of the Mediterranean
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Degenkolb beats Hushovd in bunch sprint to make it three from three in the Tour of the Mediterranean

by Shane Stokes at 8:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
German Giant Shimano rider leads into afternoon time trial

John DegenkolbEchoing Marcel Kittel’s three consecutive stages at the recent Dubai Tour, Giant Shimano’s other big sprinter John Degenkolb also pulled off a similar hat-trick today when he won stage three of the Tour of the Mediterranean.

The German rider followed up his win into Montagnac on Thursday and Rousset yesterday when he hit the line in Saint Rémy de Provence.

Former world champion Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing Team) was second, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani CSF) third and Jerome Pineau (IAM Cycling) fourth.

The stage was just 63 kilometres in length due to the fact that the riders will tackle an 18 kilometre time trial this afternoon.

“Once again I have to thank my teammates for today,” said Degenkolb, who underlined his grip on the leader’s jersey with his confident performance. “They have controlled the race for three days now and are still riding super strong.

“This afternoon I will see how I get on in the time trial, but it is more of a stage for Tobias [Ludvigsson] and he's riding really strong at the moment.”

Hushovd is in the final year of his current contract with the BMC Racing Team and appears set for a good season. He would have liked to have won, but saw the result as a sign that he will be strong in the spring races.

“I was there in the front quite confident, I felt good on the climb,” he said. “I was on Degenkolb’s wheel [at the end], it was a bit of a headwind in the sprint so it was quite a difficult one.

“I tried to jump him, to surprise him before he started his sprint. But he had the best legs and he controlled me. I am happy, I was second and the legs start to be better. So it looks good for the next few weeks.”

The undulating stage began in Lambesc and included two climbs. Very soon after the start Arnaud Courteille (FDJ), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Dimitri Le Boulch (BigMat Auber 93) and Christophe Prémont (Wallonie Bruxelles) escaped. They were chased by Mikael Chérel (AG2R La Mondiale), who bridged and made it five out front.

The latter had started the day thirteenth overall and, like Courteille and Pantano, was on the same overall time as Degenkolb.

The threat of this attack, the high speeds and the winds caused the peloton behind to break into several groups. After ten kilometres the first chasing group was fifty seconds back, the second at one minute twenty seconds and the third at one minute forty.

Pantano led over the top of the first climb, beating Prémont and Le Boulch. The quintet sped down the descent and continued working together until a puncture cost Courteille to lose his place in the front with approximately 35 kilometres left. Soon afterwards Pantano sat up, and the remaining three riders were caught with eighteen kilometres to go.

Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), his team-mate Omar Fraile and Giant Shimano’s Tobias Ludvigsson picked up the intermediate sprint points. Several kilometres later Ag2r La Mondiale’s Carlos Betancur attacked at the bottom of the final climb, was caught and then Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Ben Hermans (BMC Racing Team) and Dries Devenyns (Giant Shimano) led over the top.

The peloton was close, though, and got back up to the front with three kilometres to go. Degenkolb moved into position and then blasted home in front yet again, denying Hushovd what would have been his first win of the year.

For Degenkolb, who notched up five stage wins in the 2012 Vuelta a España, the result is further confirmation of his strong form.

“Starting a season like this is a great way to thank everyone who supports us, the fans, sponsors and staff,” he said. “Hopefully the wins will keep coming.”

Directeur sportif Marc Reef said that the team played a crucial role. “Tom Peterson, Thierry Hupond and Johannes Fröhlinger did another great job on the front to control the bunch and set the rest of the guys up in a good position before the final climb.”

The afternoon time trial covers 18.2 kilometres in and around Saint Rémy de Provence.

Tour of the Mediterranean (2.1):

Stage 3a, Lambesc to Saint Rémy de Provence:

1, John Degenkolb (Giant Shimano) 63 kilometres in1 hours 18 mins 48 secss
2, Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing Team)
3, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani CSF)
4, Jerome Pineau (IAM Cycling)
5, Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing)

Overall standings after three stages:

1, John Degenkolb (Giant Shimano) 11 hours 9 mins 28 secs

More results to follow…


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