Dutch team to work fo sprinter
Dutch outfit Argos-Shimano has built their team around German sprinter John Degenkolb in a bid to secure their first top 10 placing in Paris-Roubaix.
“We want to continue our upward trajectory of the last few races (De Panne, Tour of Flanders and Scheldeprijs). In those races, we really rode as a team. I think it is very realistic to aim for a top-10 place,” said sports manager Marc Reef in team press release.
The Dutch WorldTour had struggled for results in the Spring Classics this year with Koen de Kort still recovering from injury and Marcel Kittel struggling to find his fitness after a virus contracted at the end of Paris-Nice. However, the team were buoyed by Kittel’s sprint win in Scheldeprijs last week, with the German beating Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep) and retaining the title he won in 2012.
With Kittel skipping the pave of Roubaix, the team’s attentions turn to Degenkolb.
“John has shown that he is getting into top shape after taking ninth place in the Tour of Flanders, and this course suits him even better than the Tour of Flanders. He will need the full support of the team to position him well, as positioning is one of the decisive factors in this race. He needs to be sure that he is in the front of the race entering the final cobbled sections to get a good result. If it ends up in a sprint he is a dangerous outsider.”
Degenkolb, who finished 63rd in last year’s Paris-Roubaix, said, "I will definitely be aiming for a top-10 place; the form is good enough for me to be there and reach the finale. We have done everything we could in preparation. We already started testing all the equipment in January, as you need special frames, tires and wheels. I am confident about not only my own form but also that of my teammates. They are strong enough to bring me to the finale and also to support me in the finale.
“Flanders gave me a good morale boost. Before Flanders it wasn’t easy for me; my expectations were too high, and with pulling out of Tirreno I lacked the kilometers and the effort to get in the best shape possible. Yesterday we did the last reconnaissance on the course and made the final adjustments to the equipment. I felt good and I really had the power to accelerate on the cobbles. I know I can ride a good race, but you also need a bit of luck in Paris-Roubaix. We will see how it goes Sunday.”