John Degenkolb

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The cobblestone and the Grazia


150414_pokaleDon’t these two look good together? The cobblestone and the Grazia. Winner’s trophies from two Monuments.

But let me tell you, it was really something to carry that cobblestone up the 124 stairs to my apartment. That guy is heavier than he looks. Downstairs I asked who was going to carry it up. But my father answered directly that of course he who earned it must finish off his work ;-)

It is still difficult for me to describe the feelings I have right now. I am so happy about this win. It was always my goal to win this race one day. I have trained so much and invested so much power, time and discipline to make this dream come true. And now I have done it. That is unbelievable. Also unbelievable is how long it took until a German could win this race again. Now it is my name that is in the history books.

And in combination with the win at Milan-Sanremo, it is really something very special, that I have done in the last few days.

The impressions are of course still very fresh, but somehow so many things are different than usual. Usually I am totally exhausted when I come home after such a difficult race, and can sleep well. But now I sleep for about two hours. Every time I close my eyes, I see the race like watching a film,and I am always in the middle of the decisive moment and get an adrenalin rush, as if I am on the bike and have to counter an attack. But don’t think that I don’t enjoy it. Quite the contrary!

I am especially happy that I could hold the tension after winning Milan-Sanremo. But exactly this mental strength is probably one of my major attributes. It has to keep on going. You can’t rest. My problem now is to make sure the rest of the season isn’t all downhill after these two extraordinary wins ;-)

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Photos: private (1), (6)

Further News

Seventh in Flanders


I am satisfied with seventh place. And I especially have to thank my team. That was a very strong team performance. Up until just before the finish I still had two men at my side. That makes me more confident looking towards Paris-Roubaix.

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The quiet before the storm


Today we had our last training before the Ronde finally comes tomorrow. The weather wasn’t so great, it was rather wet. But we rolled once again over the cobbles, and had sought out a flat section. A little shaking to warm up, so to speak. It as only an hour and a half, no more.

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A race like that should not be held


Unlike 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.

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Please stop calling!


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.

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My first win in a Monument


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

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Finally time off


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.

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Second at Binche-Chimay-Binche


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.

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The last three races


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


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.

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Going to the World Championships


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.

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There was no celebration


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


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.

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Risking it all, winning it all


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...

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Number three


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.

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A unpleasant time trial


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


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


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.

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