Degenkolb finishes 2013 with Paris-Tours victory

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) TeamResult
1John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano5:29:19 
2Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
3Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ  
4Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp  
5Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
6Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
7Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
8Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
9Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
10Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
11Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
12Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
13Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
14Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
15Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
16Peio Bilbao (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
17Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka  
18Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
19Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
20Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
21Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
22Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun  
23Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
24Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
25Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha  
26Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling  
27Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol  
28Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
29Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
30Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team  
31Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ  
32Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
33Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
34Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
35Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
36Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
37Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
38Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
39Stephane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93  
40Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
41Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Sojasun  
42Adrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
43Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
44Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ  
45Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
46Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
47Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha  
48Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
49Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
50David Lelay (Fra) Sojasun  
51Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun  
52Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
53Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun  
54Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
55Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Sojasun  
56Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
57Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ  
58Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
59Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
60Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
61Marco Bandiera (Ita) IAM Cycling0:00:08 
62Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
63Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano  
64Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
65Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp0:00:11 
66Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
67Jetse Bol (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
68Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
69Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
70Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano  
71Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:00:13 
72Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:00:15 
73Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:00:17 
74Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:00:29 
75Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling0:00:33 
76Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:00:51 
77Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-Shimano  
78Mathieu Drujon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 930:00:59 
79Julian Kern (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:02 
80Yoann Paillot (Fra) La Pomme Marseille0:01:13 
81Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
82Maxim Razumov (Rus) Katusha  
83Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha  
84Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
85Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
86Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling  
87Renaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
88Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
89Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
90Rudy Kowalski (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
91Stijn Steels (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
92Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
93José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille  
94Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
95Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
96Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
97Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
98Frederic Brun (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
99Marko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
100Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar  
101Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:01:54 
102Christophe Laborie (Fra) Sojasun  
103Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
104Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
105Kevin Lalouette (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
106Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka  
107Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
108Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:58 
109Joshua Berry (USA) La Pomme Marseille  
110James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty0:02:19 
111Jakub Novak (Cze) BMC Racing Team  
112Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka  
113Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
114Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
115Loïc Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
116Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
117Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
118Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha0:02:25 
119Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin-Sharp0:03:16 
120Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
121Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
122Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN-Qhubeka  
123Martin Wesemann (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka  
124Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
125Robert Vrecer (Slo) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
126Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha  
127Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
128Franz Claes (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
129Franck Vermeulen (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
130Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
131Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar  
132Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
133Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
134Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
135Martin Reimer (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka  
136Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
137Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
138Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:03:55 
139Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:05:31 
140Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement0:05:54 
141Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:06:17 
142Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
143Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin-Sharp  
144Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp  
145Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha  
146Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
147Julien Antomarchi (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
148Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar0:06:19 
149Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ  
150Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
151Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
152Maxime Le Montagner (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
153Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
154Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
155Tim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
156Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
157Grégoire Tarride (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
158Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
159Steven Tronet (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93  
160Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
161Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
162Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun  
163Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:08:06 
164Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing Team  
165Jonathan Breyne (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
166Julien Duval (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
167Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar0:08:09 
168Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling0:08:53 
169Alexandre Billon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 930:09:05 
170Kevin Verwaest (Bel) Doltcini-Flanders  
171Romain Bacon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 930:10:08 
172Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
173Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
174Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN-Qhubeka  
175Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
176Benoit Drujon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 930:14:33 
DNFMartijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFRicardo Mestre (Por) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFGerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka  
DNFKoen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFSébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFTheo Vimpere (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93  
DNFDmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFFrederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFBryan Nauleau (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFLaurent Mangel (Fra) FDJ  
DNFRomain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFSébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  


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