John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) is never far from people's minds when considering the favourites for the World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. Degenkolb couldn't have given himself a better send off to the United States by winning the final stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
The victory is his 10th at the Vuelta and makes up for a series of near-misses in Grand Tours. Cyclingnews spoke to the big German after he sealed his morale-boosting victory on the final Vuelta stage into Madrid.
Cyclingnews: How does winning the last stage of the Vuelta feel when it comes to building up for the Worlds?
John Degenkolb: It gives me a lot of motivation. I'll recover now and then I'm flying to America on Wednesday. I will make my final preparation there on the circuit. I love long one-day races, and I will be 100 percent focused for the Worlds.
CN: How do you feel about it generally?
JD: I think I'm really relaxed about the Worlds this year, my shape is good and I have big ambitions but I'm not the top favourite for the race. There are many other guys who are big contenders, but I'll do my best. I'll see what I can do.
CN: What are your conclusions from the Vuelta overall?
JD: I'm in good shape, it helps to have been racing as a team worker [for Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin - Ed.] I went well on the big [first category] climb on stage 18 to Riaza, for example, and that gives me a lot of confidence.
CN: Any thoughts on the World's circuit itself? It's said to be very selective.
JD: It's always hectic and selective. I've seen the profile and map, not a video, but I don't expect a big bunch sprint in the World's. To be honest I don't think it will be like the big bunch that we had in Copenhagen  or Zolder . That would suit me, but I'm not saying I'm the top favourite.
CN: So what is the plan? Are you doing the trade team time trial?
JD: No. I'm going out ten days before the race, so I have enough time to recover from the Vuelta, adapt to the time difference and everything. I'll maybe do some long training rides and then everything should be ok for Sunday [September 27th] to be ready to try for the win.
CN: How is it looking for Germany's overall strategy?
JD: It looks now as if I am team captain, a leader in the race, but we have also André Greipel. It could be there's a [mass] bunch sprint in the end and then he will be there. We could switch from Plan A to Plan B.
CN: And after the World's?
JD: That's it for my season.