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“Tom (Stamsnijder) and Lawson (Craddock) controlled the race early on before passing over to the other guys later on. The finish suited me well, being slightly uphill but Betancur got the jump on me and I couldn’t quite catch hi...

Photo: Team Giant-Shimano






22.02.2014 @ 22:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Giant-Shimano spent the entire day on the front of the peloton in today's first stage of the Tour du Haut Var but in the end there was no cigar as John Degenkolb was surprisingly beat by Carlos Betancur. The German was disappointed not to pay back his teammates and is now happy to leave the responsbility to Ag2r in tomorrow's queen stage.


John Degenkolb went close to adding to his tally of early season wins but ended up just short, finishing second on the opening stage of the Tour du Haut Var. The race came back together for a bunch sprint in the final kilometre after a flurry of late attacks but in the run in to the line Carlos Betancur (AG2R) punched clear to pinch the stage win from John and Team Giant-Shimano.


“It’s disappointing not to repay the guys for their hard work today,” said Degenkolb after the stage. “Tom (Stamsnijder) and Lawson (Craddock) controlled the race early on before passing over to the other guys later on. The finish suited me well, being slightly uphill but Betancur got the jump on me and I couldn’t quite catch him.


"We caught the break 500m from the finish," he added to Directvelo. "The team has done a lot of work, especially on the final circuit. This time, I unfortunately could not win. But this is not a big disappointment. 


"Upon arrival, I wanted to see the video of the final because I felt that Carlos Betancur had locked me a little to the left when there was a small space in which I could have passed . But it's like this ... Tomorrow is a different day for the team. It will be the job for Ag2r to control the race.

Coach, Rudi Kemna said:


“The plan very nearly worked out perfectly today, but Betancur had a strong jump and just caught us by surprise. Today was our chance for a bunch sprint so we planned to control the race and set John up for the finish at the end.


“The guys did a great job, letting a small group of five go early on, before taking control and gradually reeling them back in with a couple of finishing laps to go. They didn’t panic after a late attack got away and brought that back in the final kilometre. Roy Curvers, Albert Timmer and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg brought John through at the end but John couldn’t get past Betancur before the line.”


Tomorrow’s 203.4km stage starting and finishing in Draguignan will be a very different affair with a testing parcours that will surely see a much smaller group at the finish than today.



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