The German sprinter wanted to help fill a €10,000 sponsorship hole
John Degenkolb has launched a fundraising campaign to save the junior Paris-Roubaix race, raising more €10,000 in one day.
The race faced cancellation due a major sponsorship gap, with the German sprinter stepping up to save the event for fledgling Classics riders.
Degenkolb launched a gofundme page on Saturday (February 16) in the hope of raising €10,000 (£8,700) but quickly surpassed the target.
The campaign had passed €14,000 (£12,200) at the time of publication.
Trek-Segafredo rider Degenkolb said: “It was clear to me I wanted to do everything possible to prevent this worst case.
“Not only because I have a special relationship with Paris-Roubaix – a race that fascinated me as a child and directly infected me with a fascination for cycling – but also because of its importance for the support of young talents.
“If cycling should have a sustainable future, we need such races for the young guns.”
Paris-Roubaix Juniors was first held in 2003, and has been a platform for many young riders who later went on to great heights.
Former winners include Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) in 2004 and Degenkolb’s team-mate and Classics specialists Jasper Stuyven in 2010.
British riders have a strong pedigree in the race, with Andy Fenn winning in 2008, Tom Pidcock in 2019 and Lewis Askey last season.
The money raised through the fundraising campaign will go to Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix (the friends of Paris-Roubaix), a group of volunteers that maintains and restores the iconic cobbles.
Degenkolb also donated €2,500 himself.
The 30-year-old has fond memories from the cobbled Classic, after he claimed victory in Roubaix Velodrome in 2015.
He then took glory on the Roubaix inspired stage of the 2018 Tour de France, an emotional win after his return from injury.
Degenkolb added: “Together we can make a small contribution to protect cycling history.”