Degenkolb hoping for Tour de France debut

Argos-Shimano sprinter John Degenkolb says there’s ‘no battle’ between himself and teammate Marcel Kittel for a place at next season’s Tour de France, insisting the two can work and win together.

The two German riders won 25 of Argos-Shimano's 30 victories in 2012. Degenkolb took five of those wins at the Vuelta a España. He believes that performance should secure him a place in the Argos-Shimano Tour squad.

“It is a big goal for me next year,” the 23-year-old told Cycling News HD. “First, I hope that we make the step to the WorldTour and then we are guaranteed to be there.”

“If we cannot make the step (up to WorldTour status) then I hope the ASO will give us a wildcard pretty soon and then we can focus on the Tour.”

Argos-Shimano rode the 2012 Tour de France thanks to a wild card invitation but struggled to make an impact. Degenkolb didn't make the Tour team, while Kittel’s debut was cut short with stomach problems.

Both sprinters have improved since the summer and Degenkolb doesn’t foresee any problems in the future.

“I really would like to ride with him and to split the stages in some way. Then we could say ‘today we will ride for you and tomorrow it will be my turn’,” he suggested.

“I am strong enough to hold the position and bring him into position. He is strong enough to bring me there when we have a hard final. I also have, with Koen de Kort, a really good leadout man and he can lead me out after a hard stage.”

Degenkolb made his name last season, his first as a pro, with two stage wins at the Critérium du Dauphiné. He moved to Argos-Shimano, after the HTC squad folded at the end of 2011. “It was a really strange situation as a young rider,” he recalls. “I was only 22 and I didn’t know what is going on next year and where I was going to ride. It was a strange situation and you wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

Cycling News HD

For more of this interview read this week’s issue of Cycling News HD (opens in new tab). Issue 31 recounts one of the most thrilling grand tours of the year, the Vuelta a España.

Including the full interview with Degenkolb, Joaquim Rodríguez talks about coming so close to victory. “I lost the jersey in the stage after the last rest day: it was difficult to accept it, but Contador did an incredible job.”

Simon Clarke relives winning the mountain’s classification, in his debut grand tour, and securing Orica-GreenEdge’s first grand tour jersey. “It was awesome and definitely unexpected. I never went into the Vuelta considering winning a jersey.” He also discusses that ‘Call me maybe’ video.

Daniel Friebe asks if Oscar Freire will finally get the recognition he deserves, in retirement. “It was a constant throughout his career, due in part to Spanish fans’ and media’s ambivalence towards one-day racing and in part to him spending so many years in foreign teams; the more ‘Oscarito’ won, the bigger the disparity between his achievements and recognition at home became.”

Delivered to your iPad every Wednesday, Cycling News HD brings you the best all-new cycling photography in the world via the best medium for viewing it, as well as reports, results and exclusive analysis of all the week’s biggest races, in-depth previews of the races and stages to watch in the week ahead, interviews, news and opinion.

With over 50 pages packed with new and original content every Wednesday, alongside all the latest reports and results, Cycling News HD is the best way to enjoy a roadside seat at all the season’s biggest and best races.


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