German sprinter John Degenkolb book-ends the four days of Challenge Mallorca with bunch sprint victories
John Degenkolb took his second victory in the 2018 Challenge Mallorca, winning the final of the event’s four races on Sunday, the Trofeo Palma.
The Trek-Segafredo rider out-sprinted Slovak Erik Baska (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dutchman Coen Vermeltfoort (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) to secure the win.
Degenkolb only contested the first and fourth days of the Challenge Mallorca, making it a 100 per cent success rate for the 29 year old. Prior to his double wins, his previous victory was a stage of the Dubai Tour one year ago.
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) January 28, 2018
A six-man escape group had formed up early on in the 159.6-kilometre race run, which was held under sunnier skies than the previous two days. The sextet of escapees pushed their gap out to over five minutes at its maximum.
Degenkolb suffered a puncture just as the race was hitting 50km to go, but swiftly made his way back into the bunch – with the effort evidently having done little to ultimately affect his sprint.
Work by Degenkolb’s team in unison with Lotto-Soudal ensured that the catch was made after the race had tackled its only climb of the day, the Coll de sa Creu with around 40km to the finish line in Palma.
Degenkolb then finished off his team’s effort perfectly, being not only his second win but Trek-Segafredo’s third as Tom Skujins had won Saturday’s hilly Trofeo Lloseta-Andratx.
“We showed again we were the strongest team in the race,” Degenkolb said after the finish. “It was fantastic teamwork; we took responsibility to control the race from the start and everyone on the team did the job he had to do. I had some bad luck just before the climb and I had to come back after a flat tyre and it cost some energy, but it the end I was still able to follow in the big group.
“In the leadout, we picked the right moment to come to the front, and I only had to do the last 200 meters! So that was for me super nice and I am so happy. This victory is definitely a team victory – for all of us. We took the responsibility and we got the reward for it.”
Many of the riders in the Challenge Mallorca – including Degenkolb – will now turn their attention to mainland Europe and the start of the 2018 spring classics.
Challenge Mallorca 2018: Trofeo Palma, 159.6km
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
2. Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
4. Enrique Sanz (Esp) Euskadi-Basque Country
5. Carlos Barbero (Esp) Movistar
6. Alberto Torres (Esp) Spanish national team
7. Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. José Joaquín Rojas (Esp) Movistar
9. Leonardo Basso (Ita) Team Sky
10. Xavier Canellas (Esp) Spanish national team, all same time