Degenkolb narrowly misses victory on the Champs-Élysées
John Degenkolb saved his best sprint for the final stage in the Tour de France but was overtaken in the last meters by Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) and just missed out on the win on the famed Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the place where all sprinters dream to raise their arms in victory.
“My team worked full-gas for me, and they planned the sprint so well,” said an elated Degenkolb. “It was just perfect how we came into the last corner, and I could start the sprint from Jasper’s (Stuyven) wheel. He did an amazing leadout!”
Jasper Stuyven again showed his talent in positioning amidst the chaos of bunched finishes and as final leadout for Degenkolb, and afterward the German heaped praise on his teammate:
“I am so happy that Jasper did what he did, and I will 100% pay him this back because this is something really special – to have a leadout from him on a day like this because he’s also a guy that could make a good result here today.”
It was the best result of the sprint finishes over the three weeks for Degenkolb, and although he came up short, he was gracious in defeat:
Alex (Kristoff) was just a little bit faster, and you have to accept this. I did not do any mistakes, so I have nothing to regret. He's a great champion.
Trek-Segafredo can walk away from the 2018 Tour de France smiling. Although the team did not fare in the overall classification, they battled hard for stage wins and won the hearts of many fans – and the dramatic victory of John Degenkolb in stage nine will forever be etched in cycling history.
While the Tour reached a crescendo in its final days, the GC fight highlighting the last stages, Trek-Segafredo quietly bided their time after falling out of the overall picture and awaited the final stage into Paris for one last chance to shine.
“The best moment for us was Roubaix and the win of John, no doubt about that,” explained sport director Kim Andersen, “but I know that you always remember the last thing in a Tour – even if you had a great first 10 days, 14 days, you still think when you come to Paris that you have nothing. So, the moment 75kms into stage 19 when Bauke, who was in the breakaway, completely lost everything; that was the low moment of the Tour for us. It was a pity.
“I think we did a great Tour, sporting-wise, and publicity-wise for our sponsors, and it would have been so nice to finish with this ambiance. But with Bauke falling so far down in the GC, we had nothing to fight for in the chrono, and that was a bit la-la-la.”
“So we tried to motivate the team today, one last time, to try and get everyone together for the last final stage. and I think we played a bit for not pulling, and so on, but we nearly had the whole team there for this final shot, and it was so bloody close. So bloody close. I think it was good enough that we can finish this Tour with a smile.”