John Degenkolb becomes ambassador for Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix

German to donate money and memorabilia to non-profit group

John Degenkolb has become the first official ambassador for Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix, the group of volunteers who maintain the cobblestones that characterise the Paris-Roubaix race each spring. 

The German won the race, also known as the Hell of the North, in 2014, and also won the cobbled stage of this year's Tour de France, which went over several sectors of cobblestones, or pavé.

Keen to give something back, he has teamed with Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix (the friends of Paris-Roubaix) , a group that aims to protect the Paris-Roubaix parcours, which is made up of nearly 30 sectors of narrow cobbled roads - mostly old farm tracks that zig-zag across the north east of France in an area that was heavily affected by the First World War. While they add cobblestones to plug holes and damage inflicted by the weather in the lead-up to the race each spring, they are committed to maintaining the hellish nature of the pavé, resisting any moves from local authorities to resurface the roads.

Degenkolb will make financial contributions to the not-for-profit organisation, as well as donating memorabilia to their museum and making appearances with the group when he's in the area.

"Cycling. A modern sport in technical times. Yes. That's one part of the cycling business. On the other side, you have the old races, classics, history. Legendary routes and names like Le Tour de France or Paris-Roubaix. Goosebumps for all cycling fans and as well for me. These legendary races. These holy grounds. The history and heroic stories, you can smell that on every kilometre," Degenkolb wrote in a message attached to Monday's announcement.

"For me, it was the classics that fascinated me immediately. I will never ever forget sitting at home on our couch with my dad and following these races... I was infected with the 'virus'. That's what I wanted to do as well. I wanted to become a pro cyclist and do these epic courses. l wanted to be part of that history. These memories still motivate and push me till today and so I didn’t need to think one single second as I received the request to become the first pro the official ambassador of 'Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix' - the non-profit association that keeps and protects Paris-Roubaix course as it always was.

"They protect it from modernisation.. and guarantee that the Paris-Roubaix race will be till today as hard, heavy, nice, amazing and lovely brutal, that the course will be exactly the same as back in 1896 at its first edition. I am very proud to give something back to the race I owe so much. Thank you for this opportunity. in their museum directly in the velodrome, you will find on top some original John Degenkolb pics, jerseys and caps."

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