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Degenkolb finishes 2013 with Paris-Tours victory

Barry Ryan

Argos-Shimano sprinter quickest in final race

The finale of Paris-Tours is a delicately-poised battle between the attackers and the sprinters, and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) reported for duty on both fronts en route to victory on the Avenue de Grammont on Sunday.

Degenkolb proved a convincing winner of the bunch sprint ahead of Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Arnaud Démare (, having already showcased his form by tracking what had appeared to be the race-winning move on the penultimate climb of the Côte de Beau Soleil with apparent ease.

Indeed, there can be little argument over the worthiness of the top three, given that Démare and Mørkøv also made it across to that dangerous seven-man break that formed in the finale but then petered out on the run-in to Tours, largely because of its preponderance of generals and dearth of foot soldiers.

Jetse Bol (Belkin) took advantage of that lack of cohesion in the group to slip clear on the descent of the final climb, the Côte de l'Épan, but once Degenkolb, Démare, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) et al were caught with a shade under five kilometres to go, Argos-Shimano duly set about pegging back Bol.

Bol put up fierce resistance, aided in no small part by teammate Lars Boom’s spoiling tactics behind, but his insurgence was cruelly stamped out shortly after he swung onto the finishing straight with 800 metres to go. By that point, FDJ had taken over the reins at the head of the peloton, with Yoann Offredo prominent, and Démare was dropped off in front a shade over 200 metres from the line.

Démare was forced to open his sprint a little too early, perhaps, but in truth, it seemed that there was little to be done against the on-form Degenkolb, who won Paris-Bourges in midweek and had pedalled with such facility when he followed Marco Marcato’s attack on the Beau Soleil with 10 kilometres to race here. The German duly ripped past Démare and he had more than enough in reserve to hold off the fast-finishing Mørkøv to end his campaign with a classic victory.

“It was a pretty typical Paris-Tours, it was hectic on in the finale with those little hills and the situation kept changing,” Degenkolb said of his decision to take a risk by following the attacks on the penultimate climb. “I think I did it pretty smart as I didn’t waste too much energy, so I had something left for the finish. It was up to us to chase Bol when he was left out in front and you could see how strong the team was by the way they worked in the finale.”

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was prominent in marshalling the chase of Bol, but Degenkolb was irritated by Belkin’s attempts to sabotage Argos-Shimano’s well-drilled pursuit. Boom, in particular, cleverly infiltrated the pace line and allowed Bol to stretch his lead out to 12 seconds with two kilometres remaining.

“I’m disappointed in Belkin. I know they didn’t want us to catch Bol they didn’t do it in such a good way,” Degenkolb said, darkly warning of further strife between the two remaining Dutch WorldTour teams. “It will have consequences in the future.”

How it unfolded

After heavy rain had such an impact on the world championships and the Tour of Lombardy over the past two weekends, the skies were mercifully clear as the peloton set out from Authon-du-Perche for a race that may now sadly be overlooked by the UCI WorldTour, but one that remains a reassuring constant in the cycling cosmos.

The early break featured Sebastian Lander (BMC), Julien Duval (Roubaix Lille Metropole), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling) and Yannick Martinez (La Pomme-Marseille) and the quartet established a lead of ten minutes over the peloton by the 75km mark, before, Garmin-Sharp and Argos-Shimano quietly went about the business of whittling down their advantage.

By the time they hit the Côte de Crochu with 31 kilometres to go, their margin had been pegged back to just 1:22, while the race behind was beginning to ignite into action thanks to a carefully-planned attack from Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Niki Terpstra, who was looking to bring Sylvain Chavanel across with him. Argos-Shimano shut down the move over the summit, but it was a clear signal that the sprinters’ teams could expect fierce resistance on the run-in to Tours.

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) was the next to try his luck, bringing Martin Velits (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and four others away with him, but the sprinters’ teams never allowed them out of sight, and they were caught with 15 kilometres to go.

By that point, a number of riders had been jettisoned on the Crochu, and more were lost in a crash that brought down Bryan Coquard with 25km to go, although the Europcar youngster did manage to regain the bunch. Up ahead, the four leaders were beginning to weaken, and one by one, they faded away until the obvious strongman, Saramotins, was left out in front, but he, too, was caught on the approach to the Côte de Beau Soleil.

On the climb, defending champion Marco Marcato was instantly on the offensive, bringing Vanmarcke and Degenkolb clear with him, and they were joined soon afterwards by Sylvain Chavanel, Bol, Démare and Mørkøv, forming what looked every inch the winning break with 9 kilometres remaining.

The presence of so many sprinters may have dissuaded the bunch’s chase efforts, but it also discouraged collaboration in the break itself, and that reticence was compounded when the impressive Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) soloed across on the final climb. In the confusion over the summit, Bol managed to slip away, while his erstwhile companions were eventually enveloped by the peloton ahead of the rapid approach to Tours.

In those frantic closing kilometres, Argos-Shimano did what was required of them by their leader Degenkolb, and after Bol was caught, the German delivered a pitch perfect sprint finish to crown his season. “I’ve shown I’m a man for the classics this season,” Degenkolb said. “Paris-Tours was the next step for me after winning in Hamburg in August [at the Vattenfall Cyclassics – ed.] and I’m very satisfied."

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 5:29:19  
2 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
3 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ    
4 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp    
5 Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
6 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling    
7 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
8 Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
9 Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
10 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
11 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
12 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
13 Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
14 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
15 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
16 Peio Bilbao (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
17 Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka    
18 Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
19 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
20 Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
21 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
22 Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun    
23 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
24 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
25 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha    
26 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling    
27 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol    
28 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
29 Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
30 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team    
31 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ    
32 Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement    
33 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement    
34 Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
35 Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale    
36 Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
37 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
38 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
39 Stephane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93    
40 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar    
41 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Sojasun    
42 Adrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
43 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
44 Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ    
45 Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
46 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
47 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha    
48 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
49 Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
50 David Lelay (Fra) Sojasun    
51 Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun    
52 Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ    
53 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun    
54 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement    
55 Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Sojasun    
56 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement    
57 Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ    
58 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
59 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
60 Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement    
61 Marco Bandiera (Ita) IAM Cycling 0:00:08  
62 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
63 Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano    
64 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
65 Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:11  
66 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
67 Jetse Bol (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
68 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
69 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
70 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano    
71 Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:13  
72 Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:00:15  
73 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:17  
74 Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:29  
75 Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling 0:00:33  
76 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:51  
77 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-Shimano    
78 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93 0:00:59  
79 Julian Kern (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:02  
80 Yoann Paillot (Fra) La Pomme Marseille 0:01:13  
81 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
82 Maxim Razumov (Rus) Katusha    
83 Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha    
84 Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
85 Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
86 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling    
87 Renaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement    
88 Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement    
89 Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille    
90 Rudy Kowalski (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
91 Stijn Steels (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
92 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
93 José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille    
94 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
95 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
96 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
97 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
98 Frederic Brun (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
99 Marko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
100 Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar    
101 Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:01:54  
102 Christophe Laborie (Fra) Sojasun    
103 Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
104 Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
105 Kevin Lalouette (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
106 Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka    
107 Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
108 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:58  
109 Joshua Berry (USA) La Pomme Marseille    
110 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty 0:02:19  
111 Jakub Novak (Cze) BMC Racing Team    
112 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka    
113 Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
114 Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
115 Loïc Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
116 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
117 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
118 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha 0:02:25  
119 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin-Sharp 0:03:16  
120 Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale    
121 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling    
122 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN-Qhubeka    
123 Martin Wesemann (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka    
124 Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling    
125 Robert Vrecer (Slo) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
126 Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha    
127 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
128 Franz Claes (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
129 Franck Vermeulen (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
130 Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
131 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar    
132 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
133 Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
134 Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
135 Martin Reimer (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka    
136 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
137 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
138 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:03:55  
139 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 0:05:31  
140 Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement 0:05:54  
141 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:06:17  
142 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
143 Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin-Sharp    
144 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp    
145 Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha    
146 Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille    
147 Julien Antomarchi (Fra) La Pomme Marseille    
148 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar 0:06:19  
149 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ    
150 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ    
151 Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
152 Maxime Le Montagner (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
153 Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
154 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
155 Tim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
156 Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille    
157 Grégoire Tarride (Fra) La Pomme Marseille    
158 Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
159 Steven Tronet (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93    
160 Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
161 Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    
162 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun    
163 Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:08:06  
164 Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing Team    
165 Jonathan Breyne (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
166 Julien Duval (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
167 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar 0:08:09  
168 Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling 0:08:53  
169 Alexandre Billon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93 0:09:05  
170 Kevin Verwaest (Bel) Doltcini-Flanders    
171 Romain Bacon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93 0:10:08  
172 Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
173 Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
174 Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN-Qhubeka    
175 Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
176 Benoit Drujon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93 0:14:33  
DNF Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Ricardo Mestre (Por) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka    
DNF Koen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Theo Vimpere (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93    
DNF Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Frederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Laurent Mangel (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar