John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) took his first victory of the 2018 season on Thursday, winning the bunch sprint at the end of the Trofeo Campos-Porreres-Felanitx-Ses Salines, the opening day of the Challenge Mallorca.
The German claimed the win in the 177.7-kilometre race on the Spanish island ahead of Norwegian Sondre Holst Enger (Israel Cycling Academy) with Belgian Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal) completing the podium in third.
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“It’s a great feeling to get the first victory already, to achieve this together with the team,” said Degenkolb after the win.
“We had a really nice week of training already this week in Mallorca, in the training camp, and to start the season like this with a win is always great.
“I felt really good; the team did a perfect job to make a good sprint for me. I have good memories of this race because for me this was my first professional race in 2011. Today was a great revival.”
British rider Ian Stannard (Team Sky) made the lead group containing Degenkolb to finish in 25th place.
The day’s eight-man break had been reeled in with around 15 kilometres to go and after the day’s climbs had been tackled.
Degenkolb’s last victory was back in February 2017, when he won a stage of the Dubai Tour.
The 2015 Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix winner was still finding his feet back in the peloton during late 2016 and much of 2017 after a horrific training crash in January 2016 that nearly saw him lose a finger after being hit by a car in Calpe, Spain.
The Trofeo Campos-Porreres-Felanitx-Ses Salines is the first of four separate races included in the annual Challenge Mallorca. Riders can take part in all four races, or select which events they wish to ride. There is a prize for the best-placed rider after the four days.
Many of the top teams like to use the races as an early-season warm-up to coincide with training camps on the island, away from the worst of the weather in northern Europe.
The Challenge Mallorca continues on Friday with the hilly Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana.
— ChallengeMallorca (@ChallengeMca) January 25, 2018
Challenge Mallorca 2018: Trofeo Campos-Porreres-Felanitx-Ses Salines, 177.7km
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo, in 4-02-18
2. Sondre Enger (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy
3. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
4. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic
5. Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Spanish national team
6. Xavier Cañellas (Spa) Spanish national team
7. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team
8. Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Leonardo Basso (Ita) Team Sky
10. Aaron Grosser (Ger) Team Sauerland NRW, all same time