Having set the Trek-Segafredo team to work to ensure a sprint finish to stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse, John Degenkolb was aiming for his first European win of 2017. Instead, the German found himself reaching for the brakes to avoid an accident and saw his hopes quickly dissipate.
Degenkolb crossed the line in 12th place as Peter Sagan skipped away for his 14th career win at the race and celebrated by doing a hula dance.
"Sagan jumped at 300 meters to Nikias' wheel, and I was in Trentin's wheel, but he had a teammate parked in front of him. At one point Trentin had to react, and I had to brake. I really felt good, and I really don't know what else I could have done," Degenkolb said.
"We did a great job as a team to make it a bunch sprint. We controlled everything very well Everything was perfect, more or less with 500 meters to go, and I don't know if it was just bad luck or the wrong decision, but in the end, I just picked the wrong wheel. I almost crashed behind Trentin; I had to make a special move to stay upright on the bike."
On the previous two stages suited to a bunch sprint finish, Degenkolb was 13th on stage two and third on stage three. He explained that while he feels his form is good, can pinpoint why it's not working for him.
"It's just... I don't know, right now it's just very frustrating. I am very disappointed to not deliver a great victory to a great team," he added. "There's still a few days to go, and maybe I can have a chance on the second-to-last day again. We will see."
Having missed a win with Degenkolb and seen Jarlinson Pantano's general classification hopes disappear due to stomach complaints, sports director Kim Andersen explained the team would turn its attention to the breakaway for a shot at success.
Today we had an opportunity with John (Degenkolb) in the sprint, but again it did not work out the way we wanted. There's nothing we can do; that's how it goes sometimes," said Andersen.
"Now we absolutely need to be in a break, 100%. We can hope that Jarlinson (Pantano) is recovered and can be good for the next two mountain stages. They are two hard mountain stages, one finishes with a downhill, but he's not bad in the downhill. Also, Fabio (Felline) – he can do something."
Fabio Felline and Koen de Kort sit 31st and 32nd on GC at 9:37 minutes and 9:39 minutes respectively to BMC's Damiano Caruso.