John Degenkolb (born 7 January 1989) is a German professional road bicycle racer, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Lotto–Soudal. His biggest wins to date are the 2015 Milan–San Remo and the 2015 Paris–Roubaix, two of cycling's five monuments. He is a winner of stages in all three Grand Tours, with ten stages and the points classification at the Vuelta a España, one stage of the Giro d'Italia, and one stage in the Tour de France.
Degenkolb in 2015
|Full name||John Degenkolb|
|Born||7 January 1989|
Gera, East Germany
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||77 kg (170 lb; 12 st 2 lb)|
|Rider type||Classics rider|
|2008–2010||Thüringer Energie Team|
In 2010 he won his first stage race, the Thüringen Rundfahrt der U23, and finished second in the under 23 race at the UCI Road World Championships. Degenkolb also took victory in the 2014 Gent–Wevelgem, the 2013 Vattenfall Cyclassics and was the overall winner of the 2012 UCI Europe Tour.
In 2011, Degenkolb turned professional with the UCI World Tour HTC–Highroad squad, following in the footsteps of other notable sprinters such as Mark Cavendish and André Greipel. In his debut season in the professional ranks he won stages at the Volta ao Algarve, the Three Days of West Flanders and the Bayern–Rundfahrt before winning two stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné. He also won the Eschborn–Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz one day race.
Project 1t4i / Giant–Alpecin (2012–2016)Edit
On 19 August, Degenkolb took his first stage win on a Grand Tour, stage 2 of the Vuelta a España concluding in Viana. On the slightly rising finish, he crossed the line before Allan Davis of Orica–GreenEDGE and Team Sky's Ben Swift. He repeated the exploit on stage 5, a flat affair in Logroño. Degenkolb came around Daniele Bennati, who had opened a decent gap in the last 200 m (660 ft), and crossed the line with a slight margin over the RadioShack–Nissan rider.
With the points classification jersey on his shoulders, he took his third win on stage 7, which came to an end with a lap around the Motorland Aragón race circuit. After what he qualified as a pretty mellow race on stage 10, Degenkolb came out as the victor again in Sanxenxo, sprinting hard on the uphill false-flat, edging Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni of FDJ–BigMat. He finished the Vuelta with five victories, including the coveted last stage in Madrid, where he concluded his second participation in a Grand Tour with another win.
Degenkolb followed these successes with another sprint victory at the Grand Prix d'Isbergues and a fourth place in the hilly UCI Road World Championships in Valkenburg, behind winner Philippe Gilbert of Belgium.
Degenkolb's credentials in 2013 started in May with a stage victory at the Giro d'Italia, his first win in the Italian Grand Tour. For the Tour de France, Degenkolb acted as a lead-out man for his teammate Marcel Kittel, who won four stages. Degenkolb then went on to win the Vattenfall Cyclassics World Tour race in his homeland, beating André Greipel to the line. In October, Degenkolb won two races on French soil in less than a week, Paris–Bourges and then the 1.HC Paris–Tours.
In 2014, Degenkolb most notably won the Belgian classic Gent–Wevelgem ahead of Arnaud Démare and Peter Sagan. During the Paris–Nice stage race, he won stage 3 from a bunch sprint, temporarily taking over the race lead, and went on to win the overall points classification. He also earned the points classification and 3 stages of the Tour Méditerranéen and 4 stages of the Vuelta a España. The first stage he won contained two categorised climbs and was raced in oven-like heat. The second one was a massive sprint where FDJ rider Nacer Bouhanni complained he had been unfairly pushed to the barriers by Degenkolb, who still retained the victory. The third success was a 'crazy finish' according to Degenkolb, who had the better of second placed Tom Boonen. The fourth victory came on Stage 17 and saw him edge Michael Matthews for the line. Right after the Vuelta and conquering the points classification jersey, Degenkolb had to be hospitalized for a lymphatic infection.
2015: Milan–San Remo and Paris–Roubaix doubleEdit
In 2015, Degenkolb won his first race at the Dubai Tour, the third stage of the race, beating Alejandro Valverde up a 17 percent gradient final climb. He also moved into the lead of the general classification, but lost it on the final day to Mark Cavendish, finishing the race in second overall. He grabbed the biggest victory of his career at that point in March at Milan–San Remo, where he won the sprint in front of 2014 winner Alexander Kristoff. In April, he finished seventh at the Tour of Flanders, before winning the much coveted classic Paris–Roubaix just a few days later. In the final kilometres, he bridged the gap to two escapees and eventually won a group sprint of seven riders in the Roubaix Velodrome. He became the first German to win the race since Josef Fischer won the inaugural edition in 1896, and the first rider to win Milan–San Remo and Paris–Roubaix in the same year since Sean Kelly in 1986. In May, Degenkolb took two stage victories at the Bayern–Rundfahrt, winning the points classification.
During the Tour de France, Degenkolb replaced an unfit Kittel as Giant–Alpecin's main sprinter and team captain. He would go on to describe his Tour as "satisfactory, yet not exactly what I had dreamed about", after placing in the top ten at eight different stages without winning one of them. This included a second-place finish on stage 4, which featured cobbled sections suiting the Paris–Roubaix winner. Degenkolb was seen at the front of the pack following attacks by Vincenzo Nibali over the pavé sections, but was ultimately beaten by a late attack of compatriot Tony Martin.
At the Vuelta a España, Degenkolb was elected as his team's captain. During the first two weeks of the race, stage wins eluded him, finishing high on several stages, including top three positions in stages 3, 5 and 10. When his teammate Tom Dumoulin unexpectedly challenged for the overall win, Degenkolb worked for the Dutchman, including an "astounding" performance during stage 19. On the mountainous terrain, he was able to stay with the top twenty riders of the pack until the end, setting up Dumoulin for an attack at the cobbled ascent to the finish line in Ávila. Degenkolb received praise for his performance, with directeur sportif Christian Guiberteau calling it "phenomenal". Degenkolb was able to win the last stage to Madrid, beating riders like Danny van Poppel in a bunch sprint.
Late in the season, Degenkolb targeted the road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia, being named in a leading duo with fellow sprinter André Greipel. He was considered by many to be able to challenge for the title. In the race itself, Degenkolb was placed at the front of the field for the better part of the latter laps of the race. On the cobbled climb up Libby Hill on the last lap, Degenkolb was the first to follow an attack by Zdeněk Štybar, but he was unable to follow the subsequent pace set by a group containing Niki Terpstra and Greg Van Avermaet, among others. He eventually finished 29th, 15 seconds down on winner Peter Sagan. Degenkolb said after the race: "Of course, I am very disappointed. When Peter Sagan attacked at the penultimate climb, I had nothing left to react." Degenkolb rounded up his 2015 season with a victory at the Saitama Criterium in Japan, beating local Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing) and Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) in a sprint finish. Following the race, Degenkolb said: "It was a very great race, with so many spectators. They are super emotional, especially in the final the crowds were so loud and you can almost compare it to the Champs Elysees from the atmosphere and the noise on the said of the road [...]. Now the season is really finished for me and now the preparation for the new season starts."
On 23 January 2016, while training in Calpe, Spain, he was one of six Team Giant–Alpecin riders who were hit by a car which drove into on-coming traffic. All riders were in stable condition. Degenkolb himself suffered cuts to the thigh, forearm and his lips, as well as coming close to losing his left index finger. He was treated in Valencia and Hamburg, but missed the spring classics season. He returned to competition at the Eschborn–Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz in Frankfurt on 1 May. Even though he did not finish the race, he said that he was "satisfied" with his performance and called the race an important first step in his recovery. He then attended the Tour of California, where he secured two top-ten stage finishes, declaring that he was happy with his progress, even though his injured finger was still a nuisance during sprints. He showed further improvement at the Critérium du Dauphiné, his first World Tour event of the year, finishing eighth on stage 4. Degenkolb started in the Tour de France in July, aiming particularly at the 16th stage ending in Bern. Eventually he came fourth in the mass sprints both on stages 14 and 16, his best results of the season up to that point.
On 8 July, Degenkolb announced he would leave Team Giant–Alpecin and join a new team for 2017 – with an announcement expected during the first rest day of the Tour de France. In August, his new team was confirmed to be Trek–Segafredo. He took his first win of the season on 14 August in the final stage of the Arctic Race of Norway, also securing victory in the race's points classification. He followed this up with a second place at the EuroEyes Cyclassics in Hamburg, coming in behind Caleb Ewan in the bunch sprint.
At the UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, Degenkolb was part of the German team for the road race. Having initially succeeded in staying in the front group after an attack by the Belgian squad split the field early on in the race, a flat tyre forced Degenkolb to fall back into a second group. Here, Degenkolb tried to lead his team captain André Greipel back to the front, an effort disrupted by Belgian riders left his group, leading to Degenkolb at one point spraying water from his bidon on Jens Debusschere's face in frustration. Speaking about the incident after the race, Degenkolb declared: "Oh, Jens asked for refreshment and I granted his wish." After retiring from the race due to exhaustion with 40 km (25 mi) to go, Degenkolb summarised his season: "That was a shit season this year. But I am still alive, life goes on." He then ended his season at the Abu Dhabi Tour, where he came second to Giacomo Nizzolo on stage one.
Degenkolb took his first victory of the 2017 campaign on 2 February at the third stage of the Dubai Tour, edging out Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Sonny Colbrelli in a bunch sprint. He finished the event in third position overall. During the spring classics season, Degenkolb took over the leading role at Trek–Segafredo from Fabian Cancellara, who had retired at the end of 2016. He eventually had strong results, but failed to win a race. He was dropped during the climb of the Poggio at Milan–San Remo, finishing seventh on the line. At E3 Harelbeke, the team was not present in the breakaway group, hurting its chances for a high finish, with Degenkolb finishing in 13th place. After finishing fifth at Gent–Wevelgem and seventh at the Tour of Flanders, Degenkolb entered Paris–Roubaix. Trek–Segafredo had a strong race, placing three riders in the top ten, with Degenkolb eventually in tenth position. However, Tom Boonen heavily criticised him after the race for shadowing him, saying: "To me, he rode the most cowardly race of his life." Degenkolb finished third at his home race, Eschborn–Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz at the beginning of May, having been delayed by a mechanical problem for leadout man Jasper Stuyven during the final sprint.
At the Tour de Suisse, Degenkolb was supported for sprint victories by his team, coming third in stage 3. He voiced his frustration after stage 5, when Trek–Segafredo paced him towards the finish, only for Degenkolb to be forced to brake hard behind Matteo Trentin, eventually finishing only in 12th position. He was included in the lineup for the Tour de France, enjoying a number of high sprint finishes, including a second place behind Marcel Kittel on stage 10.
Later in the season, Degenkolb started the Vuelta a España, but dropped out due to illness in the opening days. He was scheduled to lead the German squad for the road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, but pulled out of the competition one week beforehand, citing his ongoing health issues.
Degenkolb returned to racing in late January 2018 at the Challenge Mallorca, where he won two of the four races in bunch sprints, sitting out the other two. He then competed at Paris–Nice, but withdrew with bronchitis, which also forced him to sit out Milan–San Remo. Degenkolb endured a difficult spring campaign without any major results. A crash at Paris–Roubaix forced him to be off the bike for three weeks. He returned to racing in June with the Hammer Series and then the Tour de Suisse. In Switzerland, he was unable to make an impact in the first stages, while trying to find his form to make it into the squad for the Tour de France. At the German National Road Race Championships on 1 July, Degenkolb finished second behind Pascal Ackermann.
At the Tour de France, Degenkolb had a strong opening few days, including finishing third on stage 8 to Amiens. The following day, stage 9 included several cobbled sections on the road to Roubaix, site of Degenkolb's 2015 Paris–Roubaix victory. 17 km (11 mi) from the finish, he followed an attack by Yves Lampaert and Greg Van Avermaet over the Camphin-en-Pévèle cobbled sector. The trio stayed clear until the end of the stage and Degenkolb outsprinted yellow-jersey wearer Van Avermaet to take his first Tour de France stage win, and his first UCI World Tour success after his accident in early 2016. A visibly emotional Degenkolb dedicated the victory to a late family friend, who he described as his "second father" and who had died the previous winter.
Later in the season, Degenkolb secured second-place finishes at both the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen and the Münsterland Giro. On 20 October, he won the criterium race of the Japan Cup, beating out Cameron Scott in a sprint finish.
Degenkolb took his first victory of 2019 on 17 February, winning stage 4 of the Tour de la Provence. He placed second at Gent–Wevelgem on 31 March, behind Alexander Kristoff. Degenkolb was left out of his team's squad for the Tour de France, but performed well enough at the Tour de Pologne to earn a place at the Vuelta a España.
On 22 August 2019, Lotto–Soudal announced that they had signed Degenkolb on a two-year contract, beginning in 2020. Degenkolb was named in the startlist for the 2020 Tour de France; he finished outside the time limit on the opening stage – failing to reach Paris for the first time – after crashing heavily on a wet descent. On 17 September 2020, he won stage 3 of the Tour de Luxembourg.
Private life and familyEdit
In October 2018, he became the first official ambassador for "Les Amis de Paris–Roubaix", a volunteer group which acts to preserve the course and nature of the Paris–Roubaix classic race, which Degenkolb won in 2015. In early 2019, Degenkolb launched a fundraising campaign to save the existence of the Paris–Roubaix Juniors race, the edition of Paris–Roubaix for riders under 19 years of age. In less than 24 hours, €11,500 were collected, ensuring the continuation of the event. For this effort, the organisers of Paris–Roubaix decided to honour Degenkolb the following year. The pavé sector at d’Hornaing à Wandignies-Hamage, the longest cobbled sector of the race, will bare his name from the 2020 edition onwards. He became the first non-French rider to have a sector named in his honour.
- 1st Stage 2b (ITT) Giro della Lunigiana
- 3rd Time trial, National Junior Road Championships
- 1st Time trial, National Junior Road Championships
- UCI Juniors World Championships
- 4th Overall Trofeo Karlsberg
- 1st Stage 2
- 1st Stage 2 Thüringen Rundfahrt der U23
- 2nd Overall Tour du Haut-Anjou
- 2nd ZLM Tour
- 3rd Road race, UCI Under-23 Road World Championships
- National Under-23 Road Championships
- 3rd ZLM Tour
- 3rd Ronde van Vlaanderen U23
- 6th Overall Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux
- 8th Overall Thüringen Rundfahrt der U23
- 1st Road race, National Under-23 Road Championships
- 1st Overall Thüringen Rundfahrt der U23
- 1st Stage 3
- Tour de Bretagne
- 1st Stages 4 & 5
- Tour de l'Avenir
- 1st Stages 1 & 5
- 1st Stage 3 Tour Alsace
- 2nd Road race, UCI Under-23 Road World Championships
- 2nd La Côte Picarde
- 4th Overall Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux
- 6th Ronde van Vlaanderen Beloften
- 9th Overall FBD Insurance Rás
- 1st Stages 6 & 8
- 1st Eschborn–Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz
- Critérium du Dauphiné
- 1st Stages 2 & 4
- 1st Stage 2 Volta ao Algarve
- 1st Stage 1 Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen
- 1st Stage 2 Bayern–Rundfahrt
- 2nd Trofeo Cala Millor
- 2nd Münsterland Giro
- 3rd Road race, National Road Championships
- 4th Paris–Bourges
- 10th Trofeo Magaluf–Palmanova
- 1st Overall UCI Europe Tour
- 1st Overall Tour de Picardie
- 1st Grand Prix d'Isbergues
- Vuelta a España
- 1st Stages 2, 5, 7, 10 & 21
- 1st Stage 7 Tour de Pologne
- 3rd Overall Four Days of Dunkirk
- 3rd Binche–Tournai–Binche
- 3rd Paris–Bourges
- 4th Road race, UCI Road World Championships
- 4th Paris–Tours
- 5th Milan–San Remo
- 6th E3 Harelbeke
- 7th Eschborn–Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz
- 1st Vattenfall Cyclassics
- 1st Paris–Bourges
- 1st Paris–Tours
- 1st Stage 5 Giro d'Italia
- 2nd Overall Tour de l'Eurométropole
- 1st Stages 2 & 4
- 2nd Brussels Cycling Classic
- 2nd Grand Prix d'Isbergues
- 3rd Road race, National Road Championships
- 4th Eschborn–Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz
- 9th Tour of Flanders
- 10th GP Ouest–France
- 1st Gent–Wevelgem
- 1st Paris–Bourges
- Vuelta a España
- 1st Points classification
- 1st Stages 4, 5, 12 & 17
- Tour Méditerranéen
- 2nd Road race, National Road Championships
- 2nd Paris–Roubaix
- 2nd Eschborn–Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz
- 2nd Münsterland Giro
- 2nd Binche–Chimay–Binche
- 3rd Overall Étoile de Bessèges
- 4th Grand Prix d'Ouverture La Marseillaise
- 9th Road race, UCI Road World Championships
- 1st Milan–San Remo
- 1st Paris–Roubaix
- 1st Gouden Pijl
- 1st Stage 21 Vuelta a España
- 2nd Overall Dubai Tour
- 1st Stage 3
- 2nd Sparkassen Giro Bochum
- 7th Tour of Flanders
- 1st Münsterland Giro
- Arctic Race of Norway
- 2nd EuroEyes Cyclassics
- 5th Bretagne Classic
- 2nd Grand Prix of Aargau Canton
- 3rd Overall Dubai Tour
- 1st Stage 3
- 3rd Road race, National Road Championships
- 3rd Eschborn–Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz
- 5th Gent–Wevelgem
- 7th Milan–San Remo
- 7th Tour of Flanders
- 10th Paris–Roubaix
- 10th Grand Prix de Fourmies
- 1st Trofeo Campos, Porreres, Felanitx, Ses Salines
- 1st Trofeo Palma
- 1st Stage 9 Tour de France
- 2nd Road race, National Road Championships
- 2nd Münsterland Giro
- 2nd Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen
- 4th EuroEyes Cyclassics
- 1st Stage 4 Tour de la Provence
- 2nd Gent–Wevelgem
- 2nd Eschborn–Frankfurt
- 2nd Grand Prix d'Isbergues
- 8th Trofeo Palma
- 1st Stage 3 Tour de Luxembourg
Grand Tour general classification results timelineEdit
|Tour de France||—||—||121||123||109||148||121||111||—||DNF|
|Vuelta a España||144||131||—||116||90||—||DNF||—||124|
Classics results timelineEdit
|Tour of Flanders||94||59||9||15||7||—||7||32||29|
|Liège–Bastogne–Liège||Has not contested during his career|
|Giro di Lombardia|
|Omloop Het Nieuwsblad||12||11||72||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|—||Did not compete|
|DNF||Did not finish|
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Bij zijn zes eerdere deelnames haalde de oud-winnaar van Parijs-Roubaix en Milaan-San Remo altijd Parijs. [In his six previous participations, the former winner of Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo always took to Paris.]
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