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"I knew it would be difficult today, regardless of what the media was saying about me being a favorite to win. In my mind I always felt it would be a surprise if I won here today."

Photo: Sirotti






12.04.2015 @ 19:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It’s been an exciting and successful classics season for Team Katusha with Alexander Kristoff leading the way for many victories. Today’s tenth place finish in the 113th Paris – Roubaix capped off a successful two months of racing on the famed cobbles. Earning the victory from a seven-man sprint on the track of the outdoor velodrome under sunny skies was John Degenkolb, taking the win from the front after almost six hours of racing in a very fast Paris – Roubaix.


"I knew it would be difficult today, regardless of what the media was saying about me being a favorite to win. In my mind I always felt it would be a surprise if I won here today. In my previous years at Roubaix I was never too close but today I felt I was not too far away. Degenkolb is a great rider and he showed that today. He’s a strong rider and he deserved the victory. Chapeau to him. I wasn’t strong enough today to follow those guys. I was on the limit there at the end. I don’t like the flat cobbles as much as those on the climbs so I knew it would be difficult. Still in the end I felt I did a pretty good race and was among the best. We’ve had a great classics campaign. Now I will take some rest and then will start training again for the Tour de France," said Alexander Kristoff. 


During the whole day Team Katusha worked hard for Kristoff. Luca Paolini, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Marco Haller and Aleksandr Porsev tried to provide maximal support to the team’s leader in every moment of the race. They stayed in the main group almost until the last kilometers of the race, proving that Team Katusha is one of the best teams this spring.


Kristoff is now ranked #2 in the UCI WorldTour rankings behind leader Richie Porte. Team Katusha are currently in third place behind Sky and Etixx – Quick Step.


Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) charged out of Kristoff’s group near the 12 km to go mark, following the move by Greg Van Avermaet and perhaps foreshadowing that he might be the man to beat. The groups came back together only to split again near the 4 km mark in a move initiated by Zdenek Stybar. Into the velodrome it was seven riders to hear the bell ring and sprint for the win. Degenkolb went right to the front and powered up his sprint from there, riding away from Stybar (Etixx – Quick Step) and Van Avermaet of BMC, becoming the first German to win since Josef Fischer took the honors in the first edition in 1896. Kristoff sprinted in for tenth at 31-seconds off the winning time of 4:59.51.


"The race was very, very fast and the final was wide open. We had good guys there to close the gaps when it was necessary in the first attacks. The team worked so hard for Alex and to end in the top ten in a WorldTour race is a very good result. We are happy. We’ve worked hard over the last years to get to the point to see this kind of success for the team. Now the other part of the team will come for Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallone and Liège–Bastogne–Liège so we will see what happens," said sports director Torsten Schmidt. 


With such difficult cobbled sections totaling 27 in all, and the long parcours at 253,5 km, there are many casualties of the race every year. Team Katusha’s Rudi Selig crashed and opened up a wound on his chin, while Gatis Smukulis had more serious injuries to his right hand and elbow and was sent to hospital for treatment.  



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