Degenkolb: tough Vuelta route motivates me

Up-and-coming sprinter John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) has said that despite the lack of many flat stages in the 2013 Vuelta a España, he plans on returning to the race where he took no fewer than five victories last summer.

Degenkolb was the almost undisputed king of the Vuelta sprints in 2012, winning as early as stage two into Viana and as late on as the final dash up the Paseo de Castellana in Madrid. Only the bunch sprint into Valladolid, won by Daniele Bennati, escaped the German’s clutches.

In 2013, on paper, as few as five stages look likely to end in bunch sprints, but Degenkolb told Cyclingnews that it “increases my motivation, we have to take advantage of the stages that suit us. If your team is strong enough and you are strong enough, you’ll be there.

“I’m looking forward to the Vuelta, it was a great race to take part of last year and I plan to come back in.”

Degenkolb will go into the race, though, with the same objective as 2012 - to win a stage as soon as possible, “and then everything else is a bonus. It worked fine for me in 2012, and I won’t be doing it differently in 2013.

“We’ve got a stronger team this year, maybe not to try for the GC overall but with some really talented climbers: it’s looking very good.”

Fifth in Milan-San Remo last year and sixth in E3-Harelbeke, Degenkolb will start the year in the Tours of Qatar and Oman to “try and boost my Classics performances. It’s always a bit hectic there, but it’s a good place to get some early results.”

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