Degenkolb finishes 2013 with Paris-Tours victory

The finale of Paris-Tours is a delicately-poised battle between the attackers and the sprinters, and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) reported for duty on both fronts en route to victory on the Avenue de Grammont on Sunday.

Degenkolb proved a convincing winner of the bunch sprint ahead of Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Arnaud Démare (, having already showcased his form by tracking what had appeared to be the race-winning move on the penultimate climb of the Côte de Beau Soleil with apparent ease.

Indeed, there can be little argument over the worthiness of the top three, given that Démare and Mørkøv also made it across to that dangerous seven-man break that formed in the finale but then petered out on the run-in to Tours, largely because of its preponderance of generals and dearth of foot soldiers.

Jetse Bol (Belkin) took advantage of that lack of cohesion in the group to slip clear on the descent of the final climb, the Côte de l'Épan, but once Degenkolb, Démare, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) et al were caught with a shade under five kilometres to go, Argos-Shimano duly set about pegging back Bol.

Bol put up fierce resistance, aided in no small part by teammate Lars Boom’s spoiling tactics behind, but his insurgence was cruelly stamped out shortly after he swung onto the finishing straight with 800 metres to go. By that point, FDJ had taken over the reins at the head of the peloton, with Yoann Offredo prominent, and Démare was dropped off in front a shade over 200 metres from the line.

Démare was forced to open his sprint a little too early, perhaps, but in truth, it seemed that there was little to be done against the on-form Degenkolb, who won Paris-Bourges in midweek and had pedalled with such facility when he followed Marco Marcato’s attack on the Beau Soleil with 10 kilometres to race here. The German duly ripped past Démare and he had more than enough in reserve to hold off the fast-finishing Mørkøv to end his campaign with a classic victory.

“It was a pretty typical Paris-Tours, it was hectic on in the finale with those little hills and the situation kept changing,” Degenkolb said of his decision to take a risk by following the attacks on the penultimate climb. “I think I did it pretty smart as I didn’t waste too much energy, so I had something left for the finish. It was up to us to chase Bol when he was left out in front and you could see how strong the team was by the way they worked in the finale.”

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was prominent in marshalling the chase of Bol, but Degenkolb was irritated by Belkin’s attempts to sabotage Argos-Shimano’s well-drilled pursuit. Boom, in particular, cleverly infiltrated the pace line and allowed Bol to stretch his lead out to 12 seconds with two kilometres remaining.

“I’m disappointed in Belkin. I know they didn’t want us to catch Bol they didn’t do it in such a good way,” Degenkolb said, darkly warning of further strife between the two remaining Dutch WorldTour teams. “It will have consequences in the future.”

How it unfolded

After heavy rain had such an impact on the world championships and the Tour of Lombardy over the past two weekends, the skies were mercifully clear as the peloton set out from Authon-du-Perche for a race that may now sadly be overlooked by the UCI WorldTour, but one that remains a reassuring constant in the cycling cosmos.

The early break featured Sebastian Lander (BMC), Julien Duval (Roubaix Lille Metropole), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling) and Yannick Martinez (La Pomme-Marseille) and the quartet established a lead of ten minutes over the peloton by the 75km mark, before, Garmin-Sharp and Argos-Shimano quietly went about the business of whittling down their advantage.

By the time they hit the Côte de Crochu with 31 kilometres to go, their margin had been pegged back to just 1:22, while the race behind was beginning to ignite into action thanks to a carefully-planned attack from Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Niki Terpstra, who was looking to bring Sylvain Chavanel across with him. Argos-Shimano shut down the move over the summit, but it was a clear signal that the sprinters’ teams could expect fierce resistance on the run-in to Tours.

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) was the next to try his luck, bringing Martin Velits (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and four others away with him, but the sprinters’ teams never allowed them out of sight, and they were caught with 15 kilometres to go.

By that point, a number of riders had been jettisoned on the Crochu, and more were lost in a crash that brought down Bryan Coquard with 25km to go, although the Europcar youngster did manage to regain the bunch. Up ahead, the four leaders were beginning to weaken, and one by one, they faded away until the obvious strongman, Saramotins, was left out in front, but he, too, was caught on the approach to the Côte de Beau Soleil.

On the climb, defending champion Marco Marcato was instantly on the offensive, bringing Vanmarcke and Degenkolb clear with him, and they were joined soon afterwards by Sylvain Chavanel, Bol, Démare and Mørkøv, forming what looked every inch the winning break with 9 kilometres remaining.

The presence of so many sprinters may have dissuaded the bunch’s chase efforts, but it also discouraged collaboration in the break itself, and that reticence was compounded when the impressive Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) soloed across on the final climb. In the confusion over the summit, Bol managed to slip away, while his erstwhile companions were eventually enveloped by the peloton ahead of the rapid approach to Tours.

In those frantic closing kilometres, Argos-Shimano did what was required of them by their leader Degenkolb, and after Bol was caught, the German delivered a pitch perfect sprint finish to crown his season. “I’ve shown I’m a man for the classics this season,” Degenkolb said. “Paris-Tours was the next step for me after winning in Hamburg in August [at the Vattenfall Cyclassics – ed.] and I’m very satisfied."

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano5:29:19
2Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
3Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
4Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
7Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
11Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
12Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
13Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
14Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
15Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
16Peio Bilbao (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi
17Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka
18Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
19Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
20Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
21Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
22Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
23Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
24Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
25Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha
26Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling
27Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol
28Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
29Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
30Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
31Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ
32Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
33Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
34Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
35Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale
36Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
37Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty
38Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
39Stephane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
40Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
41Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Sojasun
42Adrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
43Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
44Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ
45Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
46Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
47Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha
48Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
49Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
50David Lelay (Fra) Sojasun
51Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun
52Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ
53Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun
54Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
55Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Sojasun
56Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
57Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ
58Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
59Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
60Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
61Marco Bandiera (Ita) IAM Cycling0:00:08
62Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
63Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano
64Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
65Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp0:00:11
66Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
67Jetse Bol (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
68Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
69Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
70Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano
71Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:00:13
72Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:00:15
73Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:00:17
74Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:00:29
75Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling0:00:33
76Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:00:51
77Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-Shimano
78Mathieu Drujon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 930:00:59
79Julian Kern (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:02
80Yoann Paillot (Fra) La Pomme Marseille0:01:13
81Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team
82Maxim Razumov (Rus) Katusha
83Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha
84Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
85Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
86Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling
87Renaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
88Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
89Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
90Rudy Kowalski (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
91Stijn Steels (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
92Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
93José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille
94Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
95Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
96Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
97Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
98Frederic Brun (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
99Marko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
100Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar
101Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:01:54
102Christophe Laborie (Fra) Sojasun
103Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
104Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
105Kevin Lalouette (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
106Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka
107Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
108Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:58
109Joshua Berry (USA) La Pomme Marseille
110James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty0:02:19
111Jakub Novak (Cze) BMC Racing Team
112Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
113Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
114Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
115Loïc Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
116Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
117Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Accent Jobs-Wanty
118Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha0:02:25
119Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin-Sharp0:03:16
120Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale
121Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
122Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN-Qhubeka
123Martin Wesemann (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka
124Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling
125Robert Vrecer (Slo) Euskaltel-Euskadi
126Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha
127Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
128Franz Claes (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
129Franck Vermeulen (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
130Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
131Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
132Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty
133Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol
134Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
135Martin Reimer (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
136Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
137Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp
138Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:03:55
139Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:05:31
140Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement0:05:54
141Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:06:17
142Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
143Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin-Sharp
144Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
145Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha
146Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
147Julien Antomarchi (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
148Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar0:06:19
149Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ
150Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
151Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
152Maxime Le Montagner (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
153Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol
154Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
155Tim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
156Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
157Grégoire Tarride (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
158Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
159Steven Tronet (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
160Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team
161Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
162Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun
163Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:08:06
164Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing Team
165Jonathan Breyne (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
166Julien Duval (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
167Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar0:08:09
168Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling0:08:53
169Alexandre Billon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 930:09:05
170Kevin Verwaest (Bel) Doltcini-Flanders
171Romain Bacon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 930:10:08
172Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
173Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol
174Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN-Qhubeka
175Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
176Benoit Drujon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 930:14:33
DNFMartijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
DNFRicardo Mestre (Por) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFGerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
DNFKoen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFSébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp
DNFTheo Vimpere (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
DNFDmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNFFrederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
DNFBryan Nauleau (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFLaurent Mangel (Fra) FDJ
DNFRomain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFSébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar


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