Last season the Project 1T4i team (formerly Skil-Shimano) were the plucky underdogs trying to make a name for themselves in races like E3. A year on, and despite securing a top ten place in a WorldTour race due to John Degenkolb, the team feels a sense of disappointment. It’s a mark of how far Iwan Spekenbrink’s squad has progressed in the last 12 months with a handful of canny signings and another year of racing under their belts.
At the finish in Harelbeke Degenkolb admitted that he felt he’d missed an opportunity to win the race. The German had ridden well through the day, only missing one serious break, which he was eventually able to close down with the help of Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky).
After a 5th place ride in last week’s Milan-San Remo, Degenkolb, was a good bet for a podium place in today’s race and his teammates worked towards positioning him in the finale. With Dominic Klemme a non-starter plus Koen De Kort and Bert De Backer ruled out through crashes, the Dutch team was on the back foot but Tom Stamsnijder was able to stay with Degenkolb until the finish and help him in the sprint.
Degenkolb was keying off of Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the sprint finale, and ultimately crossed the finish line in 6th place.
In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews, Degenkolb talks about his race and his expectations for Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem.