It was close, but John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) finally managed to pull off a victory in the points classification in a WorldTour race, winning the final green jersey in Paris-Nice by two points over general classification winner Carlos Betancur (AG2R-La Mondiale).
"Winning the green jersey is a nice success for the team and a reward for all the hard work here at Paris - Nice," Degenkolb said. "The guys controlled it well before the first sprint and those three points were very important."
The German sprinter won five stages in the 2012 Vuelta a España, but finished the race in fourth place in the points classification, in a competition that favored the climbers heavily.
Degenkolb and his team had to work for the jersey in the final Paris-Nice stage, coming into the stage with only a two point advantage on Betancur and the Col d'Eze standing between them and the finish line.
After taking three points in the first intermediate sprint in Plan du Var, the German only had to hang on and hope that Betancur would not contest for the final stage victory in Nice.
Had Betancur not been so closely shadowing second-placed overall Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and had to brake when Costa was involved in a crash in the final meters, the points classification may not have gone Degenkolb's way. The German was pleased to earn the green jersey in the end, and sees the week as promise of good form and consistency for the coming races.
"I'm happy with my form ahead of the Classics and the team have done a really good job in selecting the best race program to get us in the best possible shape for the Classics."
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