John Degenkolb said he doesn’t know where to put his winner’s trophy after taking victory in the 113th edition of the prestigious Paris-Roubaix race.
The 26-year-old German became only the third person in history to win Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix in the same year as he bested Czech Zdenek Stybar and Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium in a sprint finish.
When asked how he felt, the Giant-Alpecin rider said he was at a loss as to where to put the winner’s trophy, which is a stone cobble – paying tribute to the 253km race which takes in more than 50km of bumpy, cobbled roads.
“Emotion is really the right word, it’s really something I can’t believe and imagine at the moment,” said Degenkolb. “I have to search now for a place to put the cobblestone in my appartment, and this is not going to be easy. It’s big and heavy, I need to find a stable bench for it.”
Degenkolb is first German to win Roubaix since 1896, when Josef Fischer won the inaugural edition of the race.
— VeloNews (@velonews) April 12, 2015
There was an air of inevitability about Degenkolb’s win once he arrived in the velodrome as part of a seven-man leading group. Van Avermaet and fellow Belgian Yves Lampaert broke clear 11km from the end and built up a lead of 10 seconds but Degenkolb chased them down alone.
The two Belgians let Degenkolb lead the way but were caught by four more riders in the final 3km. At this point it seemed highly unlikely that anyone could beat Degenkolb and true to form, despite Stybar launching out for home first, the German passed him with aplomb and took the victory with ease.
In his last road race before leaving Team Sky and returning to the track ahead of next year’s Rio Games, reigning Olympic and world time-trial champion Bradley Wiggins finished 18th, in a group 31 seconds behind.
Skydive Dubai’s Soufiane Haddi triumphed on home soil yesterday as he pedaled his way to victory in stage six of the Tour du Maroc.
The Moroccan, who joined the UAE outfit last year, crossed the finish line first after a gruelling 138.5km stage that took the cyclists from Oujda to Nador.
Haddi, 24, completed the stage in 2hr 51min 50sec, ahead of France’s Pierre Moncorge and Morocco’s Essaid Abelouache.
The stage win helped Haddi move up from sixth to fourth in the general classification and he now trails race leader Anass Ait Al Abdia by 1min 16sec.
“I’m extremely proud and happy to win this stage,” Haddi told Sport360°. “This is the first time for me to contest the Tour du Maroc with Skydive Dubai. So returning to my home tour as a professional, with a professional team is just great.
— FirstCycling.com (@FirstCycling) April 8, 2015
“It will be tough to win the GC jersey but I’ll do my best and hopefully we can get some more stage wins.”
Skydive Dubai’s Vladimir Gusev is third in the GC, also 1min 16sec behind Al Abdia, while Tomasz Marczynski of team Torku Sekerspor is second, just three seconds off the top.
This is the second stage win of the 2015 Tour du Maroc for Skydive Dubai, after Edgar Pinto triumphed in stage three in Fes. Pinto held on to his polka dot jersey, as leader of the mountains classification.
Seven Emiratis are in action in Morocco with Yousif Mirza currently ranked the highest amongst them in the GC, lying in 58th place, 39min 26sec behind Abelouache.
Skydive Dubai are top of the teams classification and sports director Humaid Mehrab said: “We are here without our best riders, Francisco Mancebo and Rafie Chtioui, but we still managed to win two stages.”
The Tour resumes today (Thursday) with the 155km seventh stage.