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Degenkolb moves into fourth with his win in Milan-Sanremo

Photo: Sirotti

RICHIE PORTE

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23.03.2015 @ 13:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Victory for Germany’s John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin) in Milano-Sanremo after a narrow but convincing triumph over last year’s winner Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) has seen Degenkolb rocket into fourth place overall in the UCI WorldTour.

 

Previously placed 48th, Degenkolb has gained 44 places in the UCI WorldTour after his first ever victory in one of cycling’s five ‘Monument’ Classics. The German allrounder now has 102 points, a total which last year’s winner of Gent-Wevelgem and runner-up in Paris-Roubaix surely hopes to increase in the coming weeks.

 

Despite lacking a leadout man in the 25-rider bunch sprint which decided the race, the 26-year-old Degenkolb calculated his final acceleration on the slightly uphill finish of the Via Roma in Sanremo to perfection, outgunning Kristoff, who had launched his sprint early, by around three quarters of a bike length. Orica GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews placed third.

 

“This is the best day in my cycling career. I’m just so proud and happy in the same moment. It’s unbelievable,” a delighted Degenkolb said afterwards.

 

“Experience is really important for this race, which I’ve now done four years in a row. You can talk to people for advice but I believe you have to experience it yourself and grow with disappointments like [I had in] last year’s race.”

 

Team Sky and BMC Racing Team had dominated in the closing kilometres of a fast-run Milano-Sanremo, which started in heavy rainfall but fortunately ended on much drier roads. A three-man attack by Team Sky with around 30 kilometres to go culminated with a lengthy joint move by Sky’s Geraint Thomas and BMC Racing Team’s Daniel Oss. But despite an advantage of 30 seconds at one point, by the time the race roared over the summit of the Poggio, close to the finish, both had been reeled in.

 

A bad crash for UCI World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) came just when the front group split apart on the final descent, then hard work by Kristoff’s Katusha team-mates helped ensure that Milano-Sanremo 2015 came down to a bunch sprint. Degenkolb, though, benefited the most.

 

All three of Milano-Sanremo’s top finishers have now moved into the top ten of the UCI WorldTour, with Degenkolb in fourth, Kristoff moving up from 31st to sixth and Michael Matthews jumping from 28th to eighth. With UCI WorldTour leader Porte racing in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya starting on Monday, and a series of Classics coming up fast, too, starting with the E3 Harelbeke next Friday, though, further big changes in the UCI WorldTour can be expected soon. Watch this space.

 

Matthews third place has helped Australia maintain its domination of the UCI WorldTour nations classification, with a total of 473 points. Whilst second-placed Colombia’s total of 191 points and the Netherlands third place total of 189 points remain unchanged since the previous UCI World Tour round, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Australians have therefore increased their overall advantage by a further 70 points.

 

Italy have also benefited from the first Monument of 2015, climbing from seventh to fifth overall, whilst following Milano-Sanremo Germany in seventh place and Norway in ninth have now moved into the UCI WorldTour top ten.

 

The top three places in the UCI WorldTour teams classification, meanwhile, remains unchanged both in terms of positions and points, with Team Sky’s total of 290 points placing them well ahead of Movistar Team, with 206 points, followed by BMC Racing Team, who have 199.

 

You can find the complete rankings here.

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