The German Giant-Alpecin rider was involved in the crash that ended Fabian Cancellara’s Classics campaign in the early stages of Friday’s E3 Harelbeke, bruising his knee and hip in the process.
Then, in Sunday’s gale-force winds, Degenkolb found his confidence knocked and was surprised as to why the race wasn’t neutralised as many riders suffered injuries from their falls.
“The race could have been neutralized at least on the open fields, where the wind was hardest,” he wrote on his personal website. “Ahead was a group of 30 to 40. 25 of them crashed.
“I am not looking for excuses for why I wasn’t near the front. I was affected by my bruised knee and hip from the crash.
“But I simply wanted not to crash again; rode in the wind more often in order to not have anyone around me, and then at some point your tank is empty. And then shortly before the Kemmelberg, I had a rear puncture. Then it was all over.
“And then my train had a two-hour delay. A weekend to forget. Check it off and look forward. I will now try to lick my wounds and recover.”
Degenkolb will be hoping for more favourable conditions in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and will head into the following weekend’s Paris-Roubaix as one of the favourites after his second-place finish last year.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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