In only his second race start of the season, John Degenkolb made no mistake and sprinted to his second victory Sunday, taking the win in the Trofeo Palma, the final race of the Challenge Cyclista Mallorca. The win comes after Degenkolb claimed success in the opening race of the four-day series on Thursday, giving the German a perfect start to the year.
"I am so happy - thanks to my team! I know that I am in good shape and I feel pretty good. It's always nice to start the season like this. I think it's the first time I have won the first two races in a season, that's a premiere for me. To have this feeling, which I missed so much last year and now I have it already twice…It's so nice to be in the winning line again!"
The race began and finished in Palma and despite a significant climb with 40 kilometers to go, was destined to end in a bunch finish with both Trek-Segafredo and Lotto Soudal interested in bringing it together.
Steven De Jongh, Trek-Segafredo’s Sport Director, explained:
"We wanted to let a small group go away so we could control the situation and that is what happened. The breakaway was not very strong, so we were always in control. Greggy (Rast) pulled until the bottom of the last climb and Markel (Irizar) and John punctured at the bottom, but they could come back. We still had six riders at the top, only Greggy was dropped, but he had a reason to drop after pulling all day. And then in the leadout, the boys did a wonderful job. They were all there with one goal and they delivered."
Coming off a two-week training camp in Mallorca, Trek-Segafredo had its Classics team around Degenkolb and controlled the 159-kilometer race from start to end. Degenkolb was positioned perfectly in the final meters, leaving little doubt to the outcome. Afterward, he heaped praise on his teammates:
"We showed again we were the strongest team in the race. 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 tire 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."