Degenkolb: "This tops everything"

interview12.04.2015The race- Compiègne - Clairoix / Roubaix

"San Remo was already emotional but this is topping everything. This is the race I always dreamt of winning. I had to work very hard for it. My team worked the whole day to hold the situation under control until I could start. We knew it was going to be hard and that a big group would make it to the finish. I really did not want to find myself in the same situation as last year . I was in a situation where I had to go, I had to invent something. I was not afraid to fail and that was the key.

What does it mean after finishing second last year?

I think that last year we did a really good race but finally Niki broke away. That was a situation which can happen if the other riders know that you are fast then of course they don't want to bring you to the finish line then get beaten. I would do the same. We spoke about it and we evaluated the race from last year what I could have done better. The whole team was always there. The situation was under control and in the end if I had waited and not go, probably my result would not have been much better than last year. I decided now is the moment. It's all or nothing. There were only 10 kms to go in toughest race of the year by far. I felt there was something left in my tank. All or nothing….

Did you think you had it won when you made it to the velodrome?

No. Absolutely not. I had to invest a lot of energy to be in a situation that I could sprint for victory. I knew I had to watch every move. That was the key to success.  In the track I sprinted full gas to the line. I didn't celebrate, this sprint is something totally special. If you haven't done it  before you can't imagine what it's like. When you realise what it means, your legs are like rubber.

What is it like to be in a team progressing every year?

When you grow in a healthy way, your base is getting stronger when you compare it  to other teams or riders who go like boom.  It's good to have a stable base, to go step by step. When I turned professional with HTC and they stopped, many people looked strangely at me when I decided to join a second division team, Skil Shimano. When I look back, it's the best decision I ever made. We really are a bunch of guys who are friends all together. We sacrifice ourselves. We tried to screw every bolt. This cobble does not just belong to me. It's an achievement of the whole team. Two monuments, hey?

Do you think yourself and Kristoff are the future of cycling?

Cycling is changing definitely. A new generation is on the trigger. I'm actually quite sad Fabian (Cancellara) was not here. It would been good to have a battle together. I really appreciate him as a rider. He's a strong warrior. A lot of young riders are also growing and getting experience and mentally stronger. Thats what it is about in this kind of races. Nobody comes here first year and wins. It took me five years.

Can you describe your emotions?

Emotion is the right word. It's really something I can't believe and imagine at the moment. I have to search for a place to put a cobblestone in my apartment. Not easy. It's a big one, a heavy one. The double San Remo-Roubaix means so much to me. I'm just running out of words to describe it. It's probably greater because the classics season is over and I really can enjoy it, relax, lean back.

How special is it to win San Remo and Roubaix?

Winning Roubaix is very hard. Everyhting needs to come together. There was not really a moment of trouble. Today I was my first Roubaix when I did  not have trouble. In the past I either crashed or had a puncture. Last year my chain broke. Everything needs to be perfect on the bike. It's a long period from San Remo to Roubaix. Thanks to my team, my trainer at home, the soigneur, the bus driver, the whole team, we really believed in it. Now after five years. We just done it.


 

  • Degenkolb doubly makes history with Paris-Roubaix win

    John Degenkolb (TGA) doubly made history when he became the first German since Josef Fischer in1896 to win the Queen of Classics and the first man since Sean Kelly in 1986 to achieve the Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix double in the same year. A frustrated second in 2014, the Giant Alpecin team leader made the right move at the right time to finally outsprint the magnificent seven left in contention on the Roubaix velodrome and snatch his third major classic after Paris-Tours in 2013 and...

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