John Degenkolb

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No race should be held in such conditions

2015-03-30

150329_wevelUnlike the week before, I had a terrible weekend. First I crashed and bruised my knee and hip in the E§ Prijs and then this slaughter in Gent-Wevelgem.

A race like that actually should not be held. Other sports cancel because of wind. It was not responsible of the organizer. When you finish well, perhaps you don’t see it that way. But i find that more decisions must be made in the interest of the athlete. When the weather conditions don’t allow it, the race should not be held. The TV broadcast had not started as the weather was at its worst. It was like a battlefield. You had to brace yourself against the wind, rode at a title and if you lost the contact to the road at all, like at a pothole, then you were blown away, shot right across the street through the field, taking some of them with you.

The race could have been neutralized at least on the open fields, where the wind was hardest. Ahead was a group of 30 to 40. 25 of them crashed.

I have never before faced a race with conditions like that and such a strong wind. You invest so many hours, so much concentration and strength in the preparations and then two weeks before Flanders and Roubaix have to ride a race like that, in which you can lose half a season to a crash. Crashes are part of cycling, of course. But not when they can be avoided. I really feel sorry for everyone who crashed this weekend or was injured.

I am not looking for excuses for why I wasn’t near the front. I was affected by my bruised knee and hip from the crash. But I simply wanted not to crash again, rode in the wind more often in order to not have anyone around me, and then at some point your tank is empty. And then shortly before the Kemmelberg, I had a rear puncture. Then it was all over.

And then my train had a two-hour delay. A weekend to forget. Check it off and look forward. I will now try to lick my wounds and recover.

Photo: roth-foto.de

Further News

Please stop calling!

2015-03-24

There was an odd story yesterday after my win at Milan-Sanremo. If I felt like I was in heaven, then one young lady must gone through hell, through telephone terror. Coincidentally, she got my old mobile phone number when she got a new contract. And of course yesterday all hell broke loose.

more »

My first win in a Monument

2015-03-23

Wow, I won Milan-Sanremo! My first Monument. 300 Kilometers. That is incredible. Really incredible. Crazy. I can still hardly believe it.

Today I did everything right, stayed cool, even though I was relatively far back in the finale, and had to get out in the wind in order to move up. I was simply not afraid of losing. I knew that I am strong.

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I feel good

2015-03-21

The team is motivated. I think we will ride a good race tomorrow. Now it is time for us to load up on carbs and fill ourselves up. For a long race like Milan-San Remo is that even more important. In the race itself, it will be: save, save, save.

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It is getting better

2015-03-10

After the screwed-up sprint yesterday, I finished third today. Surely it was not a super sprint and I was a bit too far back when it started. But still I am satisfied with the result. I am now only two seconds away from the yellow jersey. Tomorrow there is an uphill finish.

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Jumped too early

2015-03-09

The messed-up sprint was entirely my fault today. Ramon gave me a super lead out. When I saw the sign, I thought it said the last 200 meters and I went for it. But when I looked again, I saw that it was the 300 meter marker.

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Sixth place in the Paris-Nice prologue

2015-03-08

That was a real show of strength today. I am of course satisfied with sixth place in the prologue -- although I had actually planned to be faster than Tony ;-)

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Training in Spain

2015-02-27

After the Vuelta a Andalusia, I have returned to Spain. I am again in Cambrils, where we have had several team training camps before. Together with my wife Laura and my son we have a nice apartment.

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Great season start despite second place

2015-02-07

Even if it didn’t work out today to defend the jersey, it was a super start to the season at any rate. After all, I got a stage win, wore the leader’s jersey and finished second overall. That is something.

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Win and leader’s jersey in Dubai

2015-02-06

I shot myself into space with this win. If you tested my lactate now,, I would probably still have some. I was so exhausted I couldn’t even celebrate. I pretty much collapsed right after the finish line, just laid on the street and gasped for air like a fish out of water. But with this sprint I not only shot myself into a new orbit but also into the overall lead of the race.

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Weekend with the family before start of the season

2015-01-30

Warming-up after the training. No, you did not misread and I did not misspell. Today we went on the rollers after training, to become warm again. It could not have been a nicer day than the last one of our training camp in Cambrils, but the cold wind was joined by rain.

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I’m a father

2015-01-08

I have had some eventful days lately, including a great team presentation on my birthday. But there was one event, which is the greatest one in my life. Since January 2, I have been a father, Laura and I are the proud parents of Leo Robert Degenkolb. We now have our own little family.

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Ski tour in the Taunus mountains

2014-12-31

1000 meters climbing altitude, three and a half hours, two blisters. I left my bike at home again today and tried out my skis. First I skated for an hour, to warm up. Then I strapped on the tour skis and scrambling through the Taunus started.

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Athlete of the year for the second time

2014-11-24

Two years in Frankfurt, two times Athlete of the Year. I am proud to have defended my title. Thanks to everyone who voted for me. We had a great evening at the Athletes’ Gala and properly celebrated my victory. We filled the 7 liter wine jug, which was the trophy, with "Ebbelwoi", or apple wine – and then of course emptied it.

Great mood at the German movie premiere

2014-11-18

There was a sold-out house yesterday for Tony Martin, Marcel Kittel and me in Erfurt. Over 500 people joined us in the large theater in the Cinestar to watch the film "Nieuwe Helden". Seeing it now at the start of the season was another great motivation. The enthusiasm in the theater was really unbelievable.

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Holiday in Barcelona and Athlete of the Year voting

2014-10-22

It looks like I left just in time, when I think of the weather in Germany. This afternoon my wife Laura and I got off to Barcelona, where the weather is significantly better. We will relax here for a few days. Before leaving, of course I took a look at the course for the Tour de France 2015.

more »

Finally time off

2014-10-14

I am happy that the season is finally over. Physically I still feel good, but of course I can tell that it was a long season. But my head is totally exhausted. That just made it all the better to win Paris-Bourges.

more »

Second at Binche-Chimay-Binche

2014-10-07

That was quite a nasty race today. I did not feel fresh today and in addition, there was awfully much wind and rain. The extremly strong attack by Zdenek Stybar prevented me from winning today. In the finale the team worked together very well, caught back the last breakaway, and did everything for a sprint finale.

more »

The last three races

2014-10-06

It is time to show a sign of life. You have to understand that I needed to take a deep breath after this toing and froing before the world championships. The pressure, that rested with me and I made myself, was so high. At the Vuelta I was in good shape and it was forseeable that I would be one of the favorites for the world championships.

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I want to ride a good finale

2014-09-27

I am satisfied with the work I did today. Actually I feel good, although my body can look back at a hard week. I am happy that I have made it her this far and can be at the start tomorrow morning. My goal now is to ride a good finale, and actually just to get that far. The course is good for me.

more »

Going to the World Championships

2014-09-22

My blood values have by now recovered so well that I can travel tomorrow to Spain. I want to try everything so that I can be at the start in the World Championships. Now I can train again normally and hope that I will be there on Sunday. The infection values are almost normal again.

more »

There was no celebration

2014-09-16

I would much rather be writing right now about the fantastic celebration my teammates and I had in honour of my green jersey and four stage wins. But you know how things go, and sometimes good and bad luck are not that far apart. There was no celebration. I am writing this from the hospital.

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On the verge of winning the green jersey

2014-09-12

39 point lead with only two stages left. Valverde must finish second two times in order to catch me. Of course I hope that that doesn’t happen. I am on the verge of being able to take home the jersey a Grand Tour. Not just having worn it for one or two stages, but as the overall winner in the ranking. That would be fantastic.

more »

Risking it all, winning it all

2014-09-10

I am almost speechless in light of fourth win here. Crazy. Above all I am proud of my team. We risked everything, everyone went on their limit for this win, or at least to make a sprint possible. I then had the luck to crown our work. And as for the green jersey? Well, I have a 35 point lead. Maybe that will be enough...

more »

Number three

2014-09-05

Victory number three at this Vuelta, thanks to my team. It did not work exactly the way we had planned, but that does not matter. A circuit is always tricky and at the end we were not enough of us to make the pace in the front of the bunch. Fortunately we did not need to and Ramon did a great job. He made a good leadout and I could go ahead. Fantastic.

more »

A unpleasant time trial

2014-09-02

This was probably the most non-rhythmic and most unpleasant time trial I ever did. Not only the profile was difficult; it went up and down on narrow roads and there were so many corners. When I was at the steep part of the climb I said to myself, if I have descended now and wheeled my bike, I would not be any slower.

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It could have been worth

2014-08-30

Since I deleted the word 'to crash' out of my vocabulary - I do not want to talk about it because I am sick of it - I want to tell you about a different mishap: I measured the street in a corner ;-) The race started very fast and I could not hang on at the first climb and so I tried to go as fast as possible downhill.

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Victory number two at the Vuelta

2014-08-27

Today it was not that "easy" to win the stage compared to yesterday. I had to go the extra mile after nearly missing a corner. I lost Koen's wheel. Another rider from a different team slipped into it, but he could not hang on. So there was a gap and I was thinking for a short time if I needed to close it or not.

more »

What a big relief

2014-08-26

Today's victory was long overdue. 13 times I've been second this season. I never wanted to count but last night it seized me and I sat down with Koen and we counted: 13 second places. Unbelievable. If you planned something like that, you would never be able to do it. So I am very happy, that I could win the stage.

more »

Just a few centimetres and better timing

2014-08-24

Just a few centimetres and better timing were missing for the first stage win at this Vuelta. Bouhanni was able to finnish a perfect lead out by his team. FDJ did the final kilometres in that way as we had planned to do. One kilometre before the finish was a right angle corner. There we wanted to be in front, but we were too far behind.

more »

6th place in the team time trial

2014-08-23

The 6th place in the team time trial was a decent result for our team. We focused on a good start and it worked. And so we have a good atmosphere in the team too. I think no team did a accurate job on this demanding course today. Some did more mistakes, others did less mistakes, so that different time gaps emerged.

more »