John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) will make his long-awaited return to competition at the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt on May 1. The German winner of last year's Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix had to delay his season start after being involved in a crash with a car during the team's training camp in January that nearly severed his index finger.
Degenkolb also suffered a fracture to his forearm in the January 23 crash in Spain, where a driver hit the team head-on as they were returning to their Calpe hotel after a training ride.
The 27-year-old Degenkolb is the last of six riders injured in the crash to return to competition. Fredrik Ludvigsson started in Ruta del Sol in February, Max Walscheid started in Ruchphen, Ramon Sinkeldam came back in Tirreno-Adriatico, Chad Haga in Critérium International and Warren Barguil returned for the Volta a Catalunya, all in March.
“First of all, I am really happy to pin my race number on again and to be at the starting line. It’s my home race on Sunday which makes it even more special for me. I am really thankful to all the people who have supported me and who have made it possible for me to race again."
Degenkolb was realistic about his ambitions for the race after spending 12 weeks recovering from surgery to reattach his finger.
“I am certainly not here to aim for the win. The goal is to get back the feeling of riding in the peloton again and of course this is my first test on competition ground since January. Let’s not forget what I have been through the last few months and keep it all in perspective. For Sunday, I hope I can finish the race in a good way.”
He said in March that his aim is to get back to top form to win a stage in the Tour de France.