2015 Milan-San Remo winner John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) has said that he’s feeling in good shape ahead of this year’s edition of the Italian classic. The German rider will line up as one of the favourites and his recent top placings in Paris-Nice confirms that he is in good form.
Degenkolb finished in second place on Stage 2 from Rochefort-en-Yvelines to Amilly and also took a third and fifth place during the French stage race. He said feels that the race overall and the final climb of the Poggio suit him and he also thinks that the wind could play a part.
Also lining up for Trek-Segafredo is Jasper Stuyven. The Belgian rider has also had some good results recently. In Tirreno Adriatico, he took third on Stage 6 from Ascoli Piceno to Civitanova Marche and last month finished in 2nd place in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
John Degenkolb: “Paris-Nice was very hard, especially the start, with the first two days being very intense. Nevertheless, I had a few very good days with very good sprints. Okay, I didn’t win a stage, but I was a few times really close. That shows that the explosivity was there and that gave me a good feeling and that’s for me the most important. I mean, you don’t always have to win a lot of races to have a good feeling. Now that the real important races are starting, I am really happy with the feeling I have after Paris-Nice.”
“It’s hard to say whether Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico is the best preparation for Milano-Sanremo. The winner has come from Paris-Nice for a few years now, but before that it has been multiple times someone who rode Tirreno-Adriatico. For me anyhow, I know I need some hard racing to get in my top shape and that’s what I got in Paris-Nice.”
“I took some easy days after Paris-Nice with only recovery rides, and yesterday we did a good training on the parcours of Milano-Sanremo. It was good to be on these roads again, because to do a recon like this is just very good refreshment of the memory, to remember again how far it is from the Capi to the Cipressa, from the Cipressa to the Poggio and so on. Things you know in fact, but it’s good to refresh your memory.”
“The Poggio is a climb that suits me really well. Outside a race, it’s not a tough climb at all, what makes it tough in Milano-Sanremo is the fact that you arrive there with 260-270 kilometres in the legs. This is something very peculiar, you have this only once a year, that you have to go so deep after such a long time of racing and somehow, I really like this. In my first year, I immediately was fourth here, so I think I really have the body for this race, it suits me very well.”
“A hard race would suit me well. The weather looks good, but the wind will definitely play his role. To have a good team around me until deep into the finale would be just perfect, I know I have really strong guys to support me, both on the final climbs as to lead me out if it comes to a sprint and that is for sure one of our biggest values.”
Jasper Stuyven: “It’s always good to make a result, so even though I was feeling good all week long, for sure to sprint to the third place behind Gaviria and Sagan in the 6th stage of Milano-Sanremo gives me just that extra bit of confidence to start in Milano-Sanremo.”
“It was nice to see the roads you know so well from television in real life yesterday. So for me, for sure it was a good idea to do that recon yesterday. I look forward to do a very long race like Milano-Sanremo. I have never done it before but in the end I will go for it with confidence, like I do for the other Monuments.”
“As a team, we have multiple options to tackle the race tomorrow, but it goes without saying that in the first place, I will be there to help.”
“Actually, I am always a bit nervous the day before I leave to go to a race, so that’s most of the time around 2 days before the race itself. Once I get to the hotel, I find it quite easy to be concentrated on the race and to stay relaxed. I have never had the feeling that I didn’t perform well because of too much stress.”