John Degenkolb takes first professional win in Algarve stage two
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

John Degenkolb takes first professional win in Algarve stage two

by Ben Atkins at 2:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Volta ao Algarve
 
German sprint prodigy beats a number of big names to make an early mark on the sport

John DegenkolbJohn Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) has taken his first ever professional victory in the second stage of the Volta ao Algarve between Lagoa and Lagos in a bunch sprint. The 22-year-old German outsprinted Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) into second place, with Michael Matthews (Rabobank) taking third at the end of the rolling 186.5km stage.

"It feels incredible to take my first win as a professional," said Degenkolb. "I was almost there in Mallorca [he finished second in the Trofeo Cala Millor – ed]. It was close, but now I have it and I'm really happy. I have to thank my team. I was able to save my energy on the hills during the race and they did a great leadout in the last kilometres.

"The last kilometre was a little crazy. I looked to Farrar and the other sprinters who were in front of me and decided to attack. There was a roundabout with 200 meters to go so I attacked before that and opened up a gap. With 200 meters to go I just sprinted and didn't look back."

The day’s breakaway was made up of Steven Kruiswijk (Rabobank), Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Johan Coenen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) and Remy de Gregorio (Astana). The four riders only managed to get 3’30” clear of the peloton though, and were pulled back on the flatter second half of the stage with 60km to go.

Oleg Chuzda (Caja Rural) jumped away almost as soon as the quartet was caught, but he was unable to prevent the sprinters from having their day.

Degenkolb’s victory gives him confidence for his big targets to come: his first attempt at the northern classics.

"I hope I can work on my form over the next days here and be ready to do a great job for the team at Het Volk and the other classics,” said the German, who finished third in the 2009 under-23 Ronde van Vlaanderen. “I'm looking forward to those."

Despite finishing sixth, and missing out on the bonus seconds on the line, yesterday’s stage winner Philippe Gilbert (OmegaPharma-Lotto) holds on to his race lead.

Result stage 2
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin.Cervélo
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank
4. Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank-Sungard
5. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) OmegaPharma-Lotto
7. Filipe Cardoso (Por) Barbot-Siper
8. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard Trek
9. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quick Step
10. Dmitry Fofonov (Kaz) Astana

Standings after stage 2
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) OmegaPharma-Lotto
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad @ 4s
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin.Cervélo @ 8s
4. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quick Step @ 9s
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank @ 10s

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