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Rookie John Degenkolb secured his third and biggest win of the 2011 season on Sunday, when he outsprinted the pack at the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt.
After his HTC-Highroad teammates kept the race under control in the closing kilometers of one of Germany’s top classics, Degenkolb powered across the line comfortably ahead of Belgium’s Jerome Baugnies (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) and Australian Michael Matthews (Rabobank).
“I could never say I expected to win today, but I did want to get a good result and I felt good before the start. The team worked really hard in the last part to bring back a break, and I have to thank them for that. Then it was up to me,” Degenkolb said in a team release.
“The final kilometer was pretty nervous and dangerous, there was a U-turn about 800 meters to go, but when I came out of the turn I was in a good position. There were a couple of riders ahead of me and it was a bit tricky with a chicane, but I started accelerating with about 150 meters to go and got past them. I’m very proud of this day and this result. However, it was the whole team who did a good job. I’m just the sprinter.”
Twice a podium finisher in the U-23 world championships road race, Degenkolb won stages earlier this season at the Volta ao Algarve and West Flanders in Belgium.
Huge crowds turned out to watch the 50th running of the German classic.
“2011 is the 50th year of this event and we’ve been told there were more than a million spectators watching, so it’s a huge success all round,” said HTC-Highroad’s Jens Zemke. “During the race I was a bit nervous, because there was a break of 19 guys at one point and we didn’t have anybody in it. But we did the hard work necessary to pull it back, and then John was able to finish it all off with a great win.”
Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt
- 1. John Degenkolb (Ger), HTC-Highroad , At 4:50:49
- 2. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, s.t.
- 3. Michael Matthews (Aus), Rabobank Cycling Team, s.t.
- 4. Davy Commeyne (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.
- 5. Laurent Pichon (Fra), Bretagne-Schuller, s.t.