Degenkolb secures top ranking in UCI Europe Tour

Fourth place in Sunday's Paris-Tours was enough to ensure John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) will end 2012 as the winner of the UCI Europe Tour.

Final rankings are yet to be published by the UCI however, Degenkolb will finish the season on 596 points ahead of teammate Marcel Kittel.

Degenkolb has 12 wins to his name this season, including the five stages he won at his second appearance at the Vuelta a Espana, two at the Tour de Picardie where he was also declared overall winner, two at the Three Days of Dunkirk and one in the Tour of Poland. He also won the GP d'Isbergues - Pas de Calais before targeting Paris-Tours over the weekend. The German has been chief conspirator when it came to trying to close the gap on the Cote de l'Epan in the closing stages of the race.

"I understood this group was going for the victory but there were still three guys at the front," the German told Cyclingnews. "I was following Van Avermaet but since I was the strongest in the group, I tried because I only had one team-mate left with me. But probably I wasn't strong enough. You always have to try. I'm not devastated. It's still a fourth place in a big classic. After the fourth place at the world championship, it's not a bad way to conclude my season."

Degenkolb, 23, also finished fourth in the world championship road race.

"I have had a very good year," he said. "As a team we worked hard and achieved great victories. I'm very proud of what we've done. This works very motivating for next year."

Degenkolb is reportedly a guaranteed start at next year's Tour de France with the Dutch outfit also applying for a UCI World Tour licence having missed out on the sporting criteria for this season by just four points.

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