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John Degenkolb (1T4i)
Argos-Shimano squad on high morale after Tour wildcard bid
The 23-year-old German leads the Argos-Shimano team, who, having received a wildcard invite to the Tour de France just yesterday, will be striving to pay back organisers ASO, who organise both the Tour and Paris-Roubaix.
"I showed in the last few weeks that my shape isn't bad and that I can follow the best. I hope I can achieve a top ten result," Degenkolb told Cyclingnews.
"I've trained every day over the winter and it's a race I'd like to one day win. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. I'll give it everything and I have nothing to lose, that's my big advantage."
Last year Degenkolb attacked after the Arenberg Forest and came home in an impressive 19th place. It marked him out as a potential challenger for the future. This year he has impressed further with a string of results, including 5th in Milan-San Remo and 6th in E3 Harelbeke.
Both races have different parcours and the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix will test him further still.
"We'll see how the race goes, the first major point will be at the Arenberg and from there we'll decide what tactics to play."
Unlike last year Degenkolb may find himself marked out of an early break, meaning he will need to follow when the favourites put the hammer down in the final 50 kilometres. But whatever tactic the German is asked to play his firm focus is on the top ten.
"Of course the likes of Tom Boonen and Pippo Pozzato are the favourites. In this race you can't count out Thor Hushovd either and there are a few guys who can win tomorrow but hopefully I can get a good result and my team have a good performance."
The team's wildcard entry into the Tour de France couldn't have come at a better time. The team has had a strong start to the season and were unlucky to miss out on a guaranteed place through courtesy of a WorldTour licence. The riders were informed of ASO's decision the night before the official announcement and Degenkolb believes it has given the squad an added boost ahead of Paris-Roubaix.
"The announcement last week has given us more confidence and created a good team spirit."