Degenkolb hungry for maiden Tour de France stage win

Green jersey not a priority for Giant-Alpecin rider

With nine Vuelta a España stages and one Giro d'Italia stage to his name, John Degenkolb is looking to complete the Grand Tour set on his third appearance at the Tour de France.

The German made his Tour debut in 2013, placing second on stage 7 and would go close again the following year as he finished runner up on stages 11 and 19.

"I want to win my first stage in the Tour," Degenkolb said of his aim for the 102nd Tour at Giant-Alpecin's pre-race press conference. "I'm counting down the days to the start. I want to get rid of those second places in the Tour and go for a stage win."

In his two previous appearances Degenkolb helped teammate Marcel Kittel take four stage wins on both occasions but finds himself as the sole protected fast man for Giant-Alpecin in 2015. For the flat bunch finishes that are more suited to the likes of Mark Cavendish and Kittel, Degenkolb thinks a well-drilled lead out train will put him in a position to challenge for the win despite his characteristics.

"I will try and stand my ground on those stages. I'm not a sprinter, but with a good team around me I should be able to compete for the victory," he said.

Degenkolb was one of the riders of the Classics earlier this season with a breakthrough victory at Milan-San Remo followed by victory at Paris-Roubaix, with seventh place at the Tour of Flanders squeezed in between. The 26-year-old will start the cobbled stage 4 as one of the favourites for victory but Degenkolb explained he is looking at several stages for success.

"I do not just want to focus on that stage. I also look at other stages and I am very flexible," he added.

With a Vuelta points jersey in his wardrobe, Degenkolb has proved his consistency over a three-week Grand Tour but the Tour's maillot vert would be a nice surprise rather than a primary objective, with a stage win the highest current priority.

"The green jersey? First, we focus on a stage victory. Suppose the green comes into sight, then maybe we should try it, though winning it is not the priority. The green jersey is a big dream of mine, but at present it is not on the agenda." 

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