John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) has a rich palmarès that includes some of the biggest races on the calendar, but the German Classics man says he still dreams of winning the Tour of Flanders and the World Championships.
Having already won Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix, and notching up his first Tour de France stage win this season, Degenkolb feels the two races are the big holes in his CV.
"It would be a lifetime goal to win Flanders and the World Championships, which are two races that are missing when it comes to the one-day races," Degenkolb told the Cyclist website. "If I can wish one dream then that's definitely the one that I would pick."
Degenkolb has ridden the Tour of Flanders seven times and finished in the top 10 on three occasions. His best finish was seventh in 2015 and 2017.
A former silver medallist in the under 23 road race, it has been two years since Degenkolb last rode the World Championships. His best performance in the elite road race was fourth in Valkenburg in 2012 and the 2019 competition is a potential opportunity for him to make good on his dream - though he first needs to recon the course.
"Yorkshire is definitely a better opportunity than Innsbruck was," he said. "I really hope that the parcours suits me well, but I haven't looked in detail. I think the final circuit there is pretty good for me, but I don't know how hard the climbs are in the beginning."
Whatever happens next season, this year has been a cathartic one for Degenkolb. He only notched up three victories in total and endured a difficult Classics campaign but all was forgotten when he claimed victory in the Tour de France's cobbled stage.
The former Roubaix winner got up the road with Yves Lampaert and another former winner Greg Van Avermaet. The importance of it was clear to see from the scream he let out crossing the line to the emotional interview he gave afterwards.
"It was definitely even more emotional," he said, comparing it to his two Monument victories. "It's been a tough time I've been through and it really released so much pressure, like tons of pressure fell off my shoulders."
Degenkolb's sprinting prowess made him the favourite in the situation but it was not a foregone conclusion. In the end, it was a convincing sprint win with Van Avermaet only able to cling onto his rear wheel while Lampaert was behind him.
"You never know if 100 per cent you can win but I knew that I had a decent chance, a really good chance and if everything goes in my favour which is also very important," he said. "It was really good to take the initiative and be up there in the break and be up in the front."
The Classics will, as in previous seasons, form the crux of Degenkolb's opening part of the season. As with this season, he expects that he will have to share the leadership of the team.
"In the Classics, I'm not the sole leader, for sure," said Degenkolb. "We have Jasper Stuyven and also Mads Pedersen - he was second in Flanders this year - so we have super-strong riders. We will ride and race as a team and that will give us a massive advantage compared to the other teams if we ride together."
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