The Netherlands — For second-year pro John Degenkolb of the Argos-Shimano squad, 2012 has been a breakout season. His incredible form continued to shine over the weekend, as he finished top-five for Germany at the World Championships road race in The Netherlands.
On a difficult course in Valkenburg, which covered 267km including 10 trips over the famed Cauberg climb, Degenkolb showed he has what it takes to battle with the world’s best in the toughest conditions. He made the final selection of about 30 riders, then sprinted to fourth place on his Felt F1 team bike at the line. That top-five finish followed his 11th place at the 2011 Worlds in Copenhagen.
With five stage wins at the recent Vuelta a España stage race, plus a win at the GP D’Isbergues last weekend, Degenkolb earned his role as Germany’s team leader for this year’s World Championship race, which favored strong all-around riders who could both sprint and conquer the Cauberg. Degenkolb’s teammates rode well for him in the six-hour battle, fighting to put him in position to go for the win.
After an early 11-man break gained a maximum advantage of 3:30 over the field, the powerhouse teams, including Spain, Belgium, Italy and Germany, fueled the chase and began launching attacks. Degenkolb, aided by German teammate Fabian Wegmann, fought his way to the front, just missing the podium finish and putting another big notch in his incredible 2012 season.