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RODEZ, France (CT) – He may have started stage 13 with 201 points, a full 53 off that of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 51 behind Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) but John Degenkolb insisted prior to the drop of the flag that there was still a chance to win the green jersey classification.
The Giant-Alpecin rider is generally regarded as a better sprinter on tough, selective courses than many of those in the bunch, and is arguably a more complete uphill finisher than Sagan and Greipel.
The remainder of the Tour is lumpy to mountainous, and he believes that he can gain points where the terrain is more difficult.
Aside from that, he also recognises that the sport is unpredictable.
“You never know – the Tour is really special and anything can happen every day,” he told reporters at the stage start in Muret. “You see there is one crash and then riders are out. That can happen to anybody else.
“I am just trying to be as good as possible to the classification there. Maybe it is also the last day that decides in on the Champs Elysees as with the new reglements [rules], there are more points on the flat stages.”
Degenkolb ended up placing fourth on the stage, seven seconds behind Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Sagan. He wasn’t able to keep pace with those two on the final drag up to the line but will try again for a stage win in the days ahead.
He’ll also keep gathering points in the intermediate sprints; with a six man break up the road he was eighth in that gallop, finishing behind Greipel but ahead of Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Sagan.
His total haul for the day was 27 points, leaving him 57 off Sagan and 33 behind Greipel.