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John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel
Degenkolb happy with stage third place, Kittel unhappy to have missed break
John Degenkolb made the cut in the second stage of Paris-Nice, catching on to the lead group when the wind broke up the field in a “crazy race.” The Project 1t4i rider was happy with his third place on the stage, behind winner Tom Boonen, while fellow sprinter Marcel Kittel mourned his lost chance.
“I had no chance against Tom Boonen today. He has a crazy form. Chapeau,” Degenkolb told Radsport-News.com. “I have never before experienced such a crazy race. The race didn't actually start until an hour and a half in. The peloton stayed together until the first climb.
“After the climb there was an open field with lots of wind. I had a good eye and was far enough in the front that I could make the first group. In the last kilometers before the finish it started to rain and was unbearably cold.”
His teammate Marcel Kittel, who is more of a pure sprinter, pretty much saw his chances for a stage win in this year's race fly out the window, as the second stage may well prove to be the only one that offered a chance of a classic mass sprint finish. Taking the wrong direction at a roundabout cost him his chance at making the lead group, though.
After the feed zone and the first wind echelons, the field came together and Kittel was in the first ten. “But then there was a roundabout, which I had go around on the right side. That turned out to be very bad.
“Koen de Koert and I lost about 50 places. He brought me forward again and I was pretty far forward when the decisive break was made, but unfortunately by then my legs weren't good enough any more to go with them.”