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John Degenkolb

John Degenkolb (Team Argos-Shimano) celebrates his first Giro stage win with a bit of champagne

Tour de France blog: On the way to Nice

John Degenkolb
July 02, 2013, 10:50 BST,
July 02, 2013, 18:37 BST

Degenkolb on celebrating Marcel's stage win

Three days into the Tour de France and there’s really no other place to start than with Marcel’s fantastic stage win on day one. Yes, there was confusion and there was a crash but for the team it was an incredible result: to win the opening stage in the Tour de France and to have a rider pull on the yellow jersey. It was the perfect way for us to start the race.

The mood in the Argos Shimano camp after that win was understandably joyous. It was a great day for all of us in the team. We were all focused on that day and of course we were pretty lucky but we did a good job, stuck to our plan and it was an incredible feeling to win the first stage in the Tour de France.

Tom Veelers gave Marcel a great leadout and I did my job with around one kilometre to go. It was such a hectic sprint so my job was to keep the guys out of trouble at that point and then make sure that the train was at the front of the peloton.

Generally speaking, the race has been harder than we expected. I had previously targeted stage 2 as a possible sprint in which I could do well in but I was dropped on the second category climb and although we tried hard to come back it just wasn’t possible. At one point we had the gap down to 30 seconds but with the headwind it was just too much in the end.

Actually the legs are pretty painful, even after just three days of racing. The Tour de France is hardest race in the world and the basic speed is higher than in any other race.

Today we have the team time trial, obviously not a stage I can do something in for myself but there are some stages later in the week where I can do something. We’ve been asked a bit about the battle for the green jersey but it’s still really early in the race and it’s hard to draw many conclusions at this point. At the moment it’s not an option for me or Marcel. We’re just going to focus on the stage wins and try and achieve as much success as we can.



Stage 5 winner John Degenkolb (Team Argos-Shimano) makes his way to the podium

Tour de France blog: Next stop Corsica

John Degenkolb
June 26, 2013, 13:36 BST,
June 27, 2013, 3:36 BST

Follow me as I take on my first Tour de France

So here we are, on the eve of the Tour de France and I can’t explain just how excited I am. It’s my first Tour, of course, and I enter the race with a lot of strong feelings. First and foremost I’m excited because it’s the biggest race in the world and I want to do well for myself and my Argos Shimano team.

There’s a lot of intensity in the air too and I can feel that already. There are more demands, more interview requests and everything has to be just right so I’d be lying if I said that things weren’t a little stressful at this time too. But so far it’s all going to plan and this morning I travel to Corsica with the rest of my teammates.

A lot of people have speculated on how the Tour will work with both myself and Marcel Kittel in the line up. We’re both fast so surely there will be conflict? Not a chance. Lets put this one to bed straight away because both Marcel and I are different riders. Okay, we both have a sprint but he’s a pure, pure sprinter and I’m not really like that. I’m more of a rider suited to the classics and I go better in races that are harder and with some climbs in there. For him, it’s important to be really fast in the bunch sprints and to take on the guys like Cavendish and Greipel. For me, the battle is between myself and Sagan.

I’m here to ride for the team so when they ask me to ride or perform a task I’ll do that because I know I’ll have my opportunities too. I’m also going to the Tour to be part of Marcel’s lead out train and I have my job in that too. Perhaps the second stage of the race is first opportunity for me. The third stage is probably too tough for me though.

As a team we’ve talked a bit about our plans for the race already but we’ll look at it on a day by day basis and take it from there. The Tour isn’t easy so you can plan all you want before the race but things will always change and you have to adapt, especially in the first stage because every rider wants to be in the yellow jersey.

It’s hard to describe how it would feel to win a stage of the Tour. I hope I can achieve and deliver on that that and make that triple having won stages in the Giro and the Vuelta.

Right, I had better get moving. I need to finish my final bit of packing and then it’s full steam ahead to Corsica.

John Degenkolb

Follow the German sprinter as he takes on his first Tour de France for the Argos Shimano team