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Victorious at Milan-San Remo and at Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, John Degenkolb is taking a break from racing to recover but intends rebuilding form afterwards and targeting some big goals a little later this year.
One of those is the world road race championships in Richmond, Virginia. It is being held on a course that many say will suit fast riders, and thus could be ideal for him.
Asked by CyclingTips in recent days if he knew anything about the course, he said that he was yet to do reconnaissance of it. “I don’t really know much about it,” he said. “Not a lot. [But] I am definitely targeting the world championship. I think it is always good to have also a goal in late season and then you can hold the concentration and hold the focus.
“After the Classics I prepare 100 percent for the Tour. That is for sure. Then we will see. It is not really clear which programme I do to go to Richmond. But I definitely want to do a good race there.”
Degenkolb’s San Remo-Roubaix double has only been achieved twice before in history; Cyrille van Hauwaert was the first in 1908, and then Sean Kelly followed suit in 1986.
He’s moved to a new level in his career and knows that targeting stages plus the Maillot Vert in the Tour plus the rainbow jersey are goals that could be within reach.
There is however one complication as regards the Tour; the presence of his team-mate, eight time Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel.
“I think the compromise basically is when it comes down to the green jersey,” he said. “Everything else you can combine pretty good. I think this year at the Tour de France there are more stages that suit me than Marcel. We will see.
“I have not seen so much from the Tour de France and I didn’t look it up 100 percent. I just heard there are not so many flat sprint stages.”
Degenkolb was clear that he was not tempted to try to make a little more use of his current rich form. If he was so inclined he could ride the Amstel Gold Race next weekend; given his ability on punchy climbs, he is a rider who could theoretically aim for success there.
However he is adamant that it is time for a rest.
“Doing it would be 260 kilometres extra,” he said. “On paper it is not a Monument, but it is a super hard race. I have done the race before. I think it is just too much.
“Maybe a rider like Fabian [Cancellara], for example….I would think about it if you won already several times Roubaix and Flanders, that you just skip one of these ones and then maybe you go for Amstel and try a shot there.
“But right now I want to concentrate on these two races. Right now there is not an option for me to ride Amstel.”