John Degenkolb

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Sometimes it is pretty spartan


140723_hotelYesterday we were in a really roomy hotel and today in a Campanile. The hotels we stay in are just as different as the terrains on which we are underway. Sometimes good and sometimes not so good. At the Tour we riders can absolutely not expect every luxury and good food, sometimes it is pretty spartan. In our room today you have to pretty much play Tetris to fit both the luggage and the massage table in (photo).

I got through the day pretty well. My mountain climbing equipment helped me ;-) The race went exactly the way we had wanted it to. In the beginning there was a nine-man group. Katusha was not in it but absolutely wanted to be in the day’s group, because Rodriguez had not yet given up on the mountain jersey. So they rode all out and covered the first 40km in a lightly rising valley with 50km/h. On the third climb I had to let myself fall back and then rode easily into the finish. On the closing climb I had the opportunity to speak with Mark van Bommel, who accompanied us in the team car and even handed us bottles.

Further News

Mark van Bommel visited us


Mark van Bommel visited us today. And before someone starts to complain, that I am in the photo with him ;-), he is really a very impressive personality. And yes, he said that we played really well at the World Cup. He still has contact to some Bayern players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, for example.

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Six days to go


When I look around here, I would think that after a great rest day, we will have a very uncomfortable stage. The wind is very strong and the first 80 kilometers are over narrow roads in open areas, and it is rolling terrain, as well. So that means, ride attentively and be careful, so that you don’t get dropped through an echelon before you even get to the climbs.

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Something is missing in my life today


Something is missing in my life today, and it is Dries. Many greetings to Dries, who unfortunately couldn’t ride on after his crash yesterday. He always sat next to me on the bus. But I miss him not only there but also in the race, where he, like everyone else on the team, has important tasks so that we can all be successful together.

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Surprised by second place


This morning I would not have thought that I would ride for the stage win. The rest day really worked wonders. It really does help when for a change you don’t have to hit those pedals with 600 Watt and your muscles can recover. I didn’t do anything yesterday except for an hour on the roller.

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Finally rest day


We have a hard "long weekend" in Alsace behind us. I am really exhausted now, especially since I have been slightly handicapped by my injured muscle. Because of the French national holiday, the first week of the Tour was one day longer than usual for us.

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Through the day without major pain


The muscle held! At first I didn’t want to believe it, but I got through the day without major pain. I don’t want to break out in euphoria, and I know that something like this doesn’t heal overnight. But it was simply great to be able to ride without the hellish pain that I had the last few days. It was almost unbearable.

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Pain-free on the bike for two and a half hours


I have just laid down on my bed and am cooling my injuries. I hope that it helps. I could ride pain-free the first two and a half hours today. But then it just kept getting worse. I had so much to do to take care of myself that I couldn’t help the other guys.

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Thwarted by two crashes


A bruise on the bottom, more exactly the Gluteus Maximus, and a muscle hemorrhage is what I am bringing away from today’s stage – and I had such big plans. But unfortunately I crashed twice, the first time with Marcel. That wasn’t so bad. I got back on my bike again quickly and could continue.

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Premiere on rainy Roubaix pave?


The party goes on. Four stages, three wins. We are all super happy, even if our lead out didn’t work out perfectly. Marcel showed today that he can also master a difficult situation alone. It is crazy, how strongly he closed that gap to Kristoff and then went on to win. He is simply incredibly strong.

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Unforgettable days in England


I say goodbye to England with this wheelie photo from Jenkin Road in the second stage. The last three days are almost impossible to describe. I felt as if I were at a rock festival. The mass of people made it a huge and also loud spectacle. My ears are still ringing. There were people simply everywhere, no matter how small the village or how narrow the street.

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A perfect start to the Tour


First sprint, first win for our team and the yellow jersey. What could be better? We had a scary moment in the finale when Cancellara attacked. But as quickly as the moment came, it was equally quickly gone. We soon discovered that we were strong enough to bring him back. I rode the last meters to catch him and then the sprint really began.

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Satisfied with my form despite second place


Of course I am disappointed to have the second place. When you stand on the podium and have just missed out on the jersey, it is bitter. But I have nothing for which to blame myself today. Perhaps I was too early in the wind, opened the sprint against Andre too soon, but it is only with a long spring that I can beat him as a pure sprinter.

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We want to get the jersey


After having to leave the Tour de Suisse because of my crash, things are going better for me again. My scrape wounds are all healed. My skin is quite pink, as you can see in the before-and-after photo. In the meantime I can train again without constraints, and rode one block of up to six hours.

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Too much risk to keep going


By now I am at home. After another more or less sleepless night because of scrape wounds, we decided that I should leave the Tour de Suisse. A decision like that is not easy, but when I consider the advantages and disadvantages, it is the right one.

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Like being run over by a tractor


Boy, am I happy that this day is over. I feel like I was run over by a tractor. My body is apparently no longer used to coping with huge scrape wounds. I really can’t remember the last time I lost so much skin. It is not just that the body sticks all of its strength in healing the wounds.

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A crash in the neutralized section


Things went so wrong today in the neutralized section, that I had to strip on the road and change both by jersey and shorts. The ones I started out in were totally in tatters. At the start of the stage we had a descent, with a gradient of up to 18 percent. After a few meters, I noticed that there was something happening with my front tire.

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From altitude training to the Tour de Suisse


The altitude training camp is over tomorrow and I will head to the Tour de Suisse. I have trained very well in the last weeks here in the Sierra Nevada, have stayed healthy and could also prepare myself very well mentally for the next weeks and especially for the Tour.

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Surprised by my legs


Yesterday was the first day here in California on which I felt more or less good on the climbs. My body has found the rhythm now and is accustomed to the heat. That was good because while there were "only" two mountains according to the profile, I had the feeling that it went up and down the whole day.

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Cooling off in the ocean after the stage


I can't remember ever having ridden a race in such heat before. My SRM showed me an average of 44°, with the maximum being 48°. It felt as it someone was holding a blowdryer in our face the whole stage. The wind didn't cool us off at all.

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Second on the first stage in California


My jet lag is fading out now. The sprint went quite well today. The guys did a perfect lead out for me. I did a long sprint, but unfortunately Cav head me off on the finishing line. Nevertheless I am pleased with my performance.

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Second in Frankfurt


In light of the early race situation and the team which we had at the start today, we achieved the maximum possible. Of course I would rather have won, but Kristoff was simply stronger today. I couldn't get past him. Things might have gone differently if I had had more helpers in the finale.

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I am now fully back into things


So, I have rested long enough and I am now fully back into things. After Roubaix I gave my body a short rest. Frankly, I was exhausted and when we looked at the first two Tour stages in England, I just didn't have anything in my legs. My dear teammates took a number of photos of me sleeping. But I really needed the recovery.

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Second at Paris-Roubaix


What a day. I had looked forward to this race so much and now I am overjoyed by second place. After Terpstra had gone, I got the most out of myself. I convinced myself that it was like going for the win and I was fully focussed on the sprint. That is why I rejoiced so much at the finish.

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We did our best


What a slaughter. As expected, it was a hard battle for every meter and for every cobble on every one of the 17 Hellinge. And even if the result doesn't necessarily reflect it: I am satisfied with the race and the matter in which I and my team presented ourselves. Dries and I were amongst the best.

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The Quiet before the Storm


Two hour easy training, massage, team meeting, dinner – the day before the "Ronde" is all planned out but relaxing is the most important thing. It is literally the quiet before the storm. Slowly, the excitement for the Tour of Flanders is growing.

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I have achieved my goal


With today's win in Gent-Wevelgem, the Classics season is already a total success for me. I have achieved my goal and anything else that might come will just be a bonus. It is a great feeling to win a Classic. I feel wonderful.

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I've never been so disappointed


Emptiness, disappointment, futility. I just can't find the right words to express how I felt when I realized that my front tire was flat. A puncture at the foot of the Poggio destroyed my dreams. I think that there is no dam.... excuse me, darned worse moment in this race than there to puncture.

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Taking home the green jersey from Paris-Nice


Short and painful! - That's the best way to describe the only 130 kilometer long but difficult stage today. Oh yes and one more thing: it was successful for me too. I wore the green jersey to Nice and could again represent our team at the winners' ceremony.

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Stopped by the chain


Today I really fought to get on to the podium. I could have had the yellow jersey back. I bore down hard and survived the climbs in the first group. Unfortunately then a stiff link in the chain put an end to it all. It cracked terribly on every other pedal rotation.

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Losing yellow by three seconds


In the end I lacked three seconds in order to defend yellow. It is annoying that it was so close. Now I just have to pull myself together and try it all again. But I have nothing to blame myself for, I gave my all and the guys rode themselves practically into a coma for me. Once again many thanks for the support.

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