Paris-Roubaix – Win for Degenkolb


John Degenkolb sprinted to victory in Paris-Roubaix, taking Team Giant-Alpecin’s second win in a “monument” this season. Wiggins bows out in style …

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Paris-Roubaix – Win for Degenkolb

Interviews and Photos thanks to Paul Burgoine

Unleashing a huge sprint in the Roubaix velodrome, John showed he was by far the fastest of the group of favourites with a clear victory from Zdenek Stybar and Greg Van Avermaet.


Photo: Paul Burgoine

After finishing second in last year’s edition of the “Hell of the North,” John was able to outsprint his fellow breakaway companions in the Roubaix velodrome at the end of a sunny, dusty and exhausting day.

A delighted John Degenkolb after the finish: “I am so happy with this win. The team was so strong and I received great support from the guys. Everything went perfectly. I chose the right moment to attack. I knew if I waited longer, the same scenario as last year would play out, so I went. I was forced to do most of the work because the others know I am a fast finisher”.

“I was able to stay calm and follow my instincts in the finale, as I wasn’t afraid to fail and that was the key today. The sprint was perfect. The combination of wins in Milan-San Remo and today is very special.”

“I think last year we had a good race but we let Nikki (Terpstra) break away and this can happen because the other riders don’t want to bring a sprinter to the finish then get beaten”.

“I would do the same, so we spoke about this and I watched last years race over to see what I could do better. I think if I would have waited, my result wouldn’t have not been much better than 2014 so I decided this is the moment all or nothing, its 10k and everyone is on the limit and I felt I still had some in the tank.”

He was asked, your team done a great job getting you to the velodrome today, when you rode in did you think, this is it? “No absolutely not, I had to invest a lot of energy to be in this situation because I think the final five kilometres, it was only me and Greg pulling at the front”.

“I really can’t believe it on the track I sprinted past the line and didn’t celebrate before, I didn’t want to take any risks, this sprint is something special if you have never done it before you will have no idea what you are talking about. You try and accelerate and you suddenly realise your legs are like gum.”


Photo: Thomas van Bracht /

What is it like to be part of this team that has grown and grown? “First of all, I think if you grow in a healthy way you get stronger one year to the next. Its alway good to make a stable base and go from step to step, when I turned pro with HTC then when they stopped people thought it was strange for me to go with a second division team ‘Skil Shimano’ but when I look back now it was the best decision I have ever made”.

“We have been through some hard times but we were all friends together and we have something very special, this cobble stone is not just for me but the achievement of the whole team.

“Cycling is changing and a new generation is on the trigger. I am slightly sad Fabian wasn’t here as it would have been nice to battle against him. I hope he comes back and we can race against him. Nobody comes here and wins in the first year, you have to learn it, its taken me five years and I just can’t believe it”


Good day for Adam Blythe


Photo: Thomas van Bracht /

Sun and a tail wind made for fast opening to racing as the peloton covered over 50km in the first hour. After numerous attempts, the day’s main break saw Adam Blythe make it into the move and help the break gain a ten-minute lead before the peloton reacted ahead of the first cobbled sector.

Despite the pressure, the peloton remained in tact for a large portion of proceedings before wind and crashes caused it to break apart. “There was a lot more wind than I expected and I think that is what kept it together for such a long time,” Adam Blythe’s Orica GreenEdge teammate Keukeleire explained.


Photo: Paul Burgoine

Bad luck struck as Geraint Thomas who took a tumble in the last 90km, but Rowe and Ian Stannard covered every move when the attacks started flying, and Wiggins was one of only 30-or-so riders still in contention as the race passed over Mons-en-Pévèle.

Wiggins then lit the race up when he produced a brave solo dig in the final hour of action, and Rowe did an unbelievable job to bridge back over to vastly-reduced peloton once Wiggins had been temporarily reeled back in. Unfortunately, neither rider could follow when Yves Lampaert (Etixx – Quick-Step) and the plucky van Avermaet edged clear with 12km to go.

With only two of 27 cobblestones sectors and 12 kilometers to go, Van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert (Etixx-Quick Step) quickly gained 20 seconds. But coming out of the penultimate cobblestone sector, Degenkolb bridged the gap and then the trio was joined by four others as they exited the final section of pavé within sight of the velodrome.

After hours and hours of bone jarring racing, it was going to be a sprint that decided the race and fortune favoured the brave and for John Degenkolb it was a perfect timed attack that saw him lift the cobble stone in the iconic Roubaix Velodrome.


Top 10 for Luke Rowe and attacking ride from Wiggins


Photo: Thomas van Bracht /

Luke Rowe produced one of the performances of his career to claim eighth place in the iconic velodrome. After his teammate Bradley Wiggins went on a long-range attack with 32km to go in France, and then tried again 3km from home as he attempted to bow out in style, it was Rowe who was Sky’s top finisher in 8th.

Wiggins had tried in vain to win a race that is close to his heart but it wasn’t to be. “I’m relieved to get it over and done with and I’m happy with how it went. The tailwind made it tough out there because it meant the racing was on all day and there was no chance to relax like we normally do after the first few sectors.”

“It was a tough edition but nice to be able to have a few attacks. I had my first go where I said I was going to go on the bus this morning. No-one else seemed to be expecting it there and I got myself in a pretty good position. It was unfortunate though that I got lumbered with a few riders who didn’t want to work and that meant it was chased down quite quickly.”

Talking about his second attack to, Wiggins explained “I tried on a long uphill drag with Sep Vanmarcke, but by then it’s like when the Titanic’s going down and everyone’s hanging on for grim death, trying to get every last ounce out of themselves. I felt like I had the legs to win, I think everybody in that group did”.

Talking about the final race in his career at Sky, Wiggins says “I’m happy. I’ve had a good run, and being a classics rider has been like a new job for me over the last two years – it was a hobby driven by my passion”.

“Before the race I was trying really hard to not think about this being my last race for Team Sky. So many riders came up to me to wish me good luck and that was really nice. All these guys who you’ve been bashing heads with for years, never spoken to them, and they’re coming up to congratulate me on my career. It’s hard not to get emotional when that happens, but I got through it OK”.

“I said at the start, I just wanted a clean run today, and I got that. I didn’t have one puncture, one crash. I came through it pretty well and I was pleased to finish in the top 20”.


Photo: Thomas van Bracht /

Ian Stannard: How was the race for you Ian? “Alright. I felt good and I was in the perfect position all the time at every section, but just didn’t have the legs at the very last bit. The same happened in Flanders. I felt good until the final. I think it could have something to do with not doing a grand tour last year and this is kind of pay back for that.”

Zdeneck Stybar: A super fast race today can yo tell us about the last 10k? “We were in a good situation, but when John went, I thought now we have to do something and I rode with Lars Boom, Elminger and a few others so for me I didn’t have to work too much. So I recovered a bit and then on the small climb about five kilometres from the finish I bridged the gap to the leaders”.

“In the velodrome, Yves rode perfect for me and I had the second wheel but knew John was going to be strong but after such a hard race you never know. He also had to bridge some big gaps, so I was hoping he would be very tired, but everyone was on their knees. He done a very good sprint and I just couldn’t beat him so congratulations to him he was really very strong”

In the final two kilometre do you not think there was a time to attack seeing there was two of you? “Ah well, first I had to bridge the gap to Bradley Wiggins so trying to close ten seconds on Wiggins cost me then I crossed another gap so I needed time to recover. I would love to of attacked John but at that moment I just couldn’t. If I could do something different I would have maybe like follow John’s wheel but I couldn’t”

What does this result mean personally for you? “You know in cycling, there is only the win. I hope to come back next year and the year after and fight again for the win.”

Greg Van Avermaet: Does all your classics places add up to a win for you? “No, I would swap all my places for just one win in a monument but I have had a good season so far but Roubaix is the hardest race in the season for me. I was suffering so much out there but this is my best result ever here so I am happy with my performance.”

“In the end I had no plan anymore I was out of food and my bottle cages didn’t work to well as I was losing bottles on every sector and I missed a couple of mussettes. Normally I am very careful with that but today was so fast and with all the crosswinds it made it difficult, so in the last 20k I didn’t have the power at the finish.”

“You always want to win the race, but I knew it would be pretty hard against Degenkolb,” Van Avermaet said. “He is strong in these kinds of races and he was pretty strong when he came to us. He did a few good pulls and I was a little bit empty at the end. It was hard to come to the finish. I felt a little bit of energy going away in the last five kilometers and had to put out the maximum to get on the podium.

“I never really had a great feeling today,” Van Avemaet said. “Last week, I was feeling good at Flanders. Today, I had to fight against myself on the cobbles. I think I did a good attack with Yves Lampaert in the end. But we could not hold off Degenkolb and Stybar and the others. In the end it was hard to beat them in the sprint.”


Paris-Roubaix – Win for Degenkolb
1. John Degenkolb, Team Giant-Alpecin 5:49:51
2. Zdenek Stybar, Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Greg Van Avermaet, BMC Racing Team
4. Lars Boom, Astana Pro Team
5. Martin Elmiger, IAM Cycling
6. Jens Keukeleire, Orica GreenEdge
7. Yves Lampaert, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:07
8. Luke Rowe, Team Sky 0:00:28
9. Jens Debusschere, Lotto Soudal 0:00:29
10. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha 0:00:31

18. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
47. Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky 0:03:29
69. Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18 7.50
77. Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:07:56
85. Adam Blythe (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:08:24
105. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Team Sky

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