Paris-Nice: Third time lucky for John Degenkolb


On the last of the sprinter stages in Paris-Nice 2014, it was third time lucky for John Degenkolb in Magny-Cours on stage 3.

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Paris-Nice: Third time lucky for John Degenkolb

The German powered his way to his first victory on Paris-Nice in the 180-kms third stage after two second places in the previous finishes of this edition. Already winner of a Vuelta stage on a racing-track in 2012, the Giant Shimano big engine also stole the race yellow jersey away from France’s Nacer Bouhanni after another show of strength form his Giant Shimano team-mates.


Photo: ASO (P.Perreve)

Degenkolb was too fast and too strong for second-placed Matt Goss (OGE) and Jose Joaquin Rojas (MOV) and finally was rewarded for his consistency since the start in Mantes-la-Jolie on Sunday. Overall, he now leads the two other stage winners so far, Bouhanni by eight seconds and Moreno Hofland by 12.


French trio
The start was given to 164 riders, three riders involved in the previous day’s crashes – Belgium’s Gianni Meersman (OPQ) and Kris Boeckmans (LTB), Dutchman Lars Boom (BEL) and Kris Boeckmans (LTB) – having given up.


Photo: ASO (P.Perreve)

After 2.5 kms, the break of the day took shape and involved three Frenchmen, Perrig Quemeneur (EUC), Julien Fouchard (COF) and Romain Feillu (BSE). The trio maintained a three-minute lead for most of the stage but the gap – a maximum of 3:10 at kilometer 16 – never increased as the escapees and the bunch were playing hide-and-seek.

Slow pace
Romain Feillu was first at the top of the only climb of the day, Cote de la Chapelle-Saint-Andre (km 74, 3rd cat) while Quemeneur was fastest in the first intermediate sprint of the day in Varzy (km 78). Fouchard took the second sprint in La Machine (Km 141). But unlike in previous days, the results had no impact on the respective classifications. The tempo in the first four hours of the stage was quite leisurely at under 38 kph but it raised steadily as the peloton was nearing the Magny-Cours racing track.

With 11 kms to, as the gap had melted down to 30 seconds, Quemeneur decided to go on his own and drop his companions. The Frenchman fought bravely but was finally reeled in two kilometres from the line as the sprinters teams, led by Degenkolb’s Giant Shimano, moved up a gear.

The Dutch team move, already impressive in stage 1 and 2, was irresistible and their leader surged early never to be seen again by his rivals. After Bouhanni, it was Degenkolb’s turn to celebrate on the Grand Prix podium and snatch all the jerseys on offer except the polka-dot one, still on the back of Frenchman Christophe Laborie (BSE).


 John Degenkolb in Yellow. Photo: ASO (P.Perreve)

Straight after the stage John said: “That was unbelievable, everything worked out perfectly today. We tried twice already on the first two stages but each time it didn’t quite work out, but today it was spot on.

“We kept our nerve in the last few kilometres, taking control on the race circuit. We weren’t worried that the race wouldn’t come back together so we waited until the final few kilometres to hit it hard.

“I’m really happy that I can finally thank my teammates with this win after giving me complete support over the past few days.”

1 DEGENKOLB John Team Giant-Shimano 04:27:26
2 GOSS Matthew Orica GreenEDGE
3 ROJAS José Joaquin Movistar Team
4 BOZIC Borut Astana Pro Team
5 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6 KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha
8 HUSHOVD Thor BMC Racing Team
9 STEEGMANS Gert Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10 HOFLAND Moreno Belkin-Pro Cycling Team

11 FARRAR Tyler Garmin Sharp
19 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
24 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky
28 CHAVANEL Sylvain IAM Cycling
44 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team
53 YATES Simon Orica GreenEDGE
64 COSTA Rui Lampre – Merida
69 PHINNEY Taylor BMC Racing Team
107 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
129 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE
131 SCHLECK Andy Trek Factory Racing
136 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team
143 MATTHEWS Michael Orica GreenEDGE 00:33
162 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar 03:33
163 ROWE Luke Team Sky

1 DEGENKOLB John Team Giant-Shimano 13:14:01
2 BOUHANNI Nacer 00:08
3 HOFLAND Moreno Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:12
4 ROJAS José Joaquin Movistar Team 00:18
5 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky 00:21
6 COQUARD Bryan Team Europcar 00:22
7 KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha
8 TRUSOV Nikolay Tinkoff-Saxo
9 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale
10 MARCATO Marco Cannondale


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