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“I will definitely be aiming for a top-10 place; the form is good enough for me to be there and reach the finale. We have done everything we could in preparation. We already started testing all the equipment in January, as you need sp...

Photo: Unipublic/Graham Watson

JOHN DEGENKOLB

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PARIS - ROUBAIX

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOM VEELERS

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06.04.2013 @ 11:45 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

With a 9th place in the Tour of Flanders, John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) hopes to take another top-10 result in tomorrow's Paris-Roubaix. He is back on track after a difficult period and feels strong enough to be in the mix in the final part of the race.

 

John Degenkolb first showed his potential in the cobbled classics when he rode to a fine 19th place in his 2011 debut in the race. Keeping in mind the importance of experience in the Hell of the North, it was an impressive performance by the young German.

 

Last year, the winner of 5 stages in last year's Vuelta performed strongly in the Milan-Sanremo and E3, but he had peaked to early and failed to make an impression in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. This year has seen a complete opposite pattern with the German struggling in the early classics before the form suddenly returned in last Sunday's big Flemish race.

 

With the condition on the rise, Degenkolb is confident that he will be in the mix in the final part of the race.

 

“I will definitely be aiming for a top-10 place; the form is good enough for me to be there and reach the finale," he said. "We have done everything we could in preparation. We already started testing all the equipment in January, as you need special frames, tires and wheels. I am confident about not only my own form but also that of my teammates. They are strong enough to bring me to the finale and also to support me in the finale."

 

“Flanders gave me a good morale boost," he explained. "Before Flanders it wasn’t easy for me; my expectations were too high, and with pulling out of Tirreno I lacked the kilometers and the effort to get in the best shape possible. Yesterday we did the last reconnaissance on the course and made the final adjustments to the equipment. I felt good and I really had the power to accelerate on the cobbles. I know I can ride a good race, but you also need a bit of luck in Paris-Roubaix. We will see how it goes Sunday.”

 

Veelers ready to support Degenkolb

With Ramon Sinkeldam, Tom Veelers and Koen de Kort, Degenkolb will be formidably supported by three former winners of the U23 version of the race. Veelers was unlucky to crash twice in the Driedaagse van de Panne but despite his brusises, he feels ready for the challenge.

 

“My wounds aren’t heeled yet, and sleeping is a bit difficult, but I felt good in the reconnaissance yesterday and I know that I can support John well," he said. "Everybody is motivated, and if we ride as a team we can make the difference.”

 

Degenkolb the sole leader

Even with a number of proven contenders on the French cobbles, sports director Marc Reef is very clear that the team enters the race with a sole leader. However, he sees the collective strength of the team as a key weapon for his German captain.

 

“John has shown that he is getting into top shape after taking 9th place in the Tour of Flanders, and this course suits him even better than the Tour of Flanders," he said. "He will need the full support of the team to position him well, as positioning is one of the decisive factors in this race. He needs to be sure that he is in the front of the race entering the final cobbled sections to get a good result. If it ends up in a sprint he is a dangerous outsider.”

 

Tom Stamsnijder who had to forfeit the Tour of Flanders due to illness, will be back in tomorrow's race.

 

You can follow all the action tomorrow on CyclingQuotes.com/live. Until then, you can prepare by reading our preview here.

 

Argos-Shimano for Paris-Roubaix:

Bert De Backer, Will Clarke, Roy Curvers, John Degenkolb, Koen De Kort, Ramon Sinkeldam, Tom Stamsnijder and Tom Veelers

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