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“We started to help control behind but then over the hills the race split up and a big break pulled away. We had to be smart as only Thomas [Damuseau] and Stammie [Stamsnijder] were left with John."

Photo: Sirotti

JOHN DEGENKOLB

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09.10.2014 @ 18:58 Posted by Andy Pedersen

John Degenkolb has successfully defended his winner’s title at Paris-Bourges, taking the one-day French semi-classic for the second year in succession. John won the race with a strong finishing sprint to seal the team’s 40th victory of the season.

 

The race threatened to blow to pieces at points with the peloton splintering in the crosswinds but in the final five kilometres balance was restored and the bunch came into the finished as one for a final sprint to the line.

 

The race rolled out under cloudy skies with Team Giant-Shimano starting on the back foot with just six riders after firstly Daan Olivier  and then also Thierry Hupond could not start due to sickness in the last days running up to the race.

 

As seems the norm this late in the season, the day’s breakaway took a long time to establish itself and it wasn’t until 60km into the 190km race that six riders finally were allowed to slide away and up the road.

 

These six drove their advantage out to just over six minutes but that was all they were to be allowed as the bunch kept a keen eye on the chase. With 85km to race their gap was down to three minutes and was falling steadily until the peloton broke up after the day’s second KOM with 62km to go.

 

Seventeen riders broke away from the front of the bunch, while behind them the peloton was left in four distinct groups. The gap to the remaining escapees fell quickly and 12 riders formed a lead group on the road. Their advantage with 40km to go was just 40 seconds and with no-one in the front group, and a focus on a bunch sprint, the team was forced to chase behind.

 

The gap was hard to tackle and with 14km to go the split was still 25 seconds. This however soon started to fall as the attacks came out front and with five kilometres to go everything was back together again and set for the bunch sprint where, after good positioning in the final kilometres, John was able to take his second win at this race in as many seasons.

 

“With six it was not easy today,” explained Team Giant-Shiamno coach Christian Guiberteau to the Giant-Shimano website. “There was a big fight for the break early on and it took 60km for the right group to get away."

 

“We started to help control behind but then over the hills the race split up and a big break pulled away. We had to be smart as only Thomas [Damuseau] and Stammie [Stamsnijder] were left with John."

 

“Towards the end they started to help chase and eventually the front of the race came back together and John was able to capitalise on this. It’s good for his confidence ahead of Sunday, and although it will be a bigger field at Paris – Tours he is showing again that he is still strong at the end of a long season.”

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