HTC-Highroad's John Degenkolb: "Paris-Roubaix is something for real men."
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

HTC-Highroad's John Degenkolb: "Paris-Roubaix is something for real men."

by Jered Gruber at 5:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Neo-pro falls in love with the Queen of the Classics

The 22 year old John Degenkolb has had a neo-pro season that most can only dream of. The second place finisher at last year's U23 World Championships already has two wins to his credit in 2011, the first of the year and his first as a professional came in the second stage of the Volta ao Algarve in February. He followed that with victory in Stage 1 at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, just a couple of weeks later.

There's no questioning his sprinting prowess, but if there's one set of races that should fit the compact, solidly built German, it's the Spring Classics.

Bad luck took Degenkolb out of the running at Flanders, but he still managed to finish 94th in his first ever participation in De Ronde.

Paris-Roubaix was a significant leap forward for the HTC-Highroad talent though, taking 19th in his first ever go on the cobbles of the Hell of the North.

Writing later on his website, Degenkolb's euphoria was hard to miss.

"This race is really something for real men. For me, there's only the bottom line: Roubaix is cool. My body has never produced so many endorphins before. I've never experienced anything that hard before, but the elation at arriving to the velodrome in Roubaix is a rush."

Degenkolb was in with a real chance at a significant result on Sunday, but a crash ended any possibilities of a possible sensational top ten.

"It's only disappointing that I fell out of the lead group because of a crash. I'm absolutely happy with my 19th place finish in my first participation though."

The winner of countless U23 races is without question one of Germany's top talents, and certainly its biggest hope for the classics in the coming years. His massive engine along with a love for the cobbles will certainly take him a long way in April in the years to come.

His team's equipment for Paris-Roubaix was also a major component, in his opinion, to his success.

"With my set-up, I had more luck this time compared to Flanders. 28 wide tires, 6 bars of air in them, shock absorption in the frame [through Specialized's Zertz inserts], comfortable, and safe."

That's all well and good, but...

"Of course, one can't speak much for the comfort on cobbles. You'll need a full-suspension bike for that."

With so much success so early in his professional career, one has to wonder - what can the native of Gera manage over the next decade? Is it too early to wonder?

The podium from the U23 World Championships road race certainly leaves a lot to gush about: Michael Matthews, John Degenkolb, and the third place tie of Taylor Phinney and Guillaume Boivin.



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