WEVELGEM, Belgium, March 30, 2014 (AFP) – Germany’s John Degenkolb of the
Giant team won the Gent-Wevelgem spring classic race on Sunday, heaping praise
on his teammates for reeling in three peloton escapees.
Degenkolb timed 5hr 34min 43sec over the 233km ride to finish ahead of
Frenchman Arnaud Demare and Slovakia’s defending champion Peter Sagan.
“This race is one of the really big classics and I am so happy to add
Gent-Wevelgem to my honours,” said Degenkolb.
“The race worked out perfectly for us today. The guys were really strong
and Dries Devenyns did a great job chasing towards the end — he is really
strong at the moment.
“Koen de Kort positioned me perfectly in the final, driving me onto Sagan’s
wheel and I had the right position and could come through at the right time so
it was a fantastic sprint.”
A three-strong breakaway of Belgian Stijn Devolder, Costa Rica’s Andrey
Amador and Swiss rider Silvan Dillier were only reeled in in the final
The race was marked by several falls, which saw Britons Ian Stannard and
Geraint Thomas, and German Andre Greipel crash out 8km from the finish.
The 25-year-old Degenkolb, winner of last season’s Cyclassics in Hamburg
and Paris-Tours, has five Vuelta stages and one Giro stage win to his name.
And his Gent victory follows three stage wins on the Mediterranean Tour and
one on the Paris-Nice this season.
The former policeman, however, failed to threaten the podium in last
weekend’s Milan-Sanremo race after picking up a puncture.
“Last weekend at Milan-Sanremo was probably one of the most disappointing
moments of my career,” said Degenkolb.
“Today everything went 100 percent better than last week so I can forget
about that disappointment now.
“My shape is good and this is a good sign for the next big races.”
Leading results from the 233km
Gent-Wevelgem spring classic race on Sunday:
1. John Degenkolb (GER/GIA) 5hr 34min 43sec, 2. Arnaud Demare (FRA/FDJ)
same time, 3. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) s.t., 4. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/BKN) s.t., 5.
Tom Boonen (BEL/OPQ) s.t., 6. Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL/TSV) s.t., 7. Alexey
Tsatevich (RUS/KAT) s.t., 8. Yauheni Hutarovich (BLR/ALM) s.t., 9. Thor
Hushovd (NOR/BMC) s.t., 10. Jurgen Roelandts (BEL/LTB) s.t.