Tag Archives: John Degenkolb

The Road To Düsseldorf

In the year 2008 German television dropped the live coverage of the Tour de France. There were too many doping scandals and the German broadcasters thought it was the right thing to do. German rider Erik Zabel had announced the year before that he used doping during his career and in 2008 Bernhard Kohl and Stefan Schumacher both tested positive. In 2011 the decision was made to not broadcast any footage of the Tour de France anymore.

However, German riders were doing quite well in the Tour de France after 2011. There were three stage wins for Andre Greipel in 2012 and in the year 2013 there were four stage wins for Marcel Kittel, one for Greipel and one for Tony Martin. In 2014 there were four stage wins for Kittel, two for Tony Martin and one for Greipel. The public television broadcasters, ARD and ZDF, started to doubt their decision. These riders stated that they were racing without doping and would do anything to make cycling attractive again for the people in Germany. In 2015, the German broadcasters announced that they would be present at the Tour de France and even start to broadcast live again.

At this point there are hardly any professional cycling races in Germany. One of the biggest races of the country, the Deutschland Tour, got cancelled in 2008 due to the many doping scandals in Germany. It is strange to note that in one of the largest countries of Europe there are practically no WorldTour races. In a country with beautiful flat areas, great rivers, historical cities and wonderful high mountains. Hosting a cycing race in Germany would not only be good for cycling itself, but even better for the German tourist industry.

A change has come since last year. The German Cycling Federation (BRD) and the ASO are working together since 2016 in order to promote cycling in Germany. In a statement they released, it was said that they have signed “a long-term agreement to revive the Deutschland Tour and establish it as a top event over a ten-year horizon. Both partners are aiming to put the Deutschland Tour back on the calendar over the coming two years, as soon as all the key assets for a great stage race and a top-notch organisation are put in place.”

With new German sponsors entering the cycling world (Bora, Alpecin) in the last couple of years, it was only a matter of time until it was announced that the Tour de France would take off in Germany in 2017. Although many expected that the city of Berlin would host the Grand Depart, it was the industrial city Düsseldorf that made the right bet at the right time. The riders will start on Saturday with a time trial, a day later the riders will leave Germany and make their way from Düsseldorf to Liège. The hosting of the Tour de France this year is the first step to the goal of the ASO and the BRD to make cycling huge again in Germany. For the German people, the start of the Tour de France is not only just a couple of ‘cycling days’, it is a celebration of the re-birth of cycling in Germany.

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It Is Not All About Racing

Some say it was ‘the tweet of the week’. Some don’t even know if it was real or not. But the tweet of Luke Rowe about his teammate Gianni Moscon was the tweet that everyone talked about in the cycling world. After a crash in Gent-Wevelgem Moscon fell on his knees and when he looked up there was a mysterious woman standing there. This was all on television and Luke Rowe decided to make a still of it and post it on Twitter.

Hilarious, right? While thinking about it, you realise that there is so much fun in the peloton but that we pay less attention to this side of the riders. Most of the time it is all about preparation, time schedules, resting or eating. But over the years I have found some great, hilarious moments in the cycling world.

Last year in the Vuelta, Magnus Cort Nielsen fell asleep in the bus on the way to the start of the fifth stage. And Esteban Chaves noticed it and could not resist to take a photo of this moment. Isn’t he the cutest thing when he sleeps?

At Team Sky they also like to play with socks. And give them eyes. And make them talk. Well, at leat they did this in 2012 and Thomas Lövkvist was good at it.

In 2014 taking selfies was a great thing to do. Kevin Reza knew this and thought it was hilarious to take selfies with all of his teammates. We all know who has the biggest smile in all of these photos!

On a sunny day a couple of years ago Ramunas Navardauskas thought: “I’m just going to lay myself down in the grass, because it feels so comfortable. We like to call it ‘grass-hugging’.

So you end up on the podium in the Tour de France of 2014 and what do your teammates do? They just throw you into the water. Wet Thibaut Pinot…

He loves to take a challenge. Bram Tankink tries to eat a mega burger, but it seems that it does not fit in his mouth. Hilarious moment, though.

Ice cream!!! John Degenkolb loves it so much, that he doesn’t even has time to smile to the camera.

Hopefully we will see more hilarious moments in 2017.

Tour Life (4)


The Tour de France is done and dusted. Chris Froome is the winner of the Tour de France. That is just one story. There were 197 other stories in the Tour de France. We can’t hear them all, but through social media we see a little bit of the life of the riders in the Tour de France. So here is one more update.

4 Swimming pool

John Degenkolb and Roy Curvers from Team Giant-Alpecin had plenty of time on the day of the second time trial.  They had an early start and spent the rest of the afternoon in the swimming pool. That is one way to recover.

4 Bryan Coquard last mountain

Bryan Coquard and Adrien Petit (DEN) were happy, because there was only one mountain stage to go. And after that there was the last day to Paris. But, lucky for them, there are no mountains in Paris.

4 Davide Cimolai three weeks doing this

Davide Cimolai from Lampre-Merida putting his numbers on his shirt for the last mountain stage. One of the rituals in the team bus every morning.

4 Michael Schar Damiano Caruso warm up

There are two different ways to do a warming up before a mountain stage. You can either climb on your bike like Michael Schär did, or you can just sit down and relax. That is exactly what Damiano Caruso did and I don’t blame him.

4 Ramunas Navardauskas barber

Yes, you can get your hair done in the Tour de France. There is a real barbershop where the riders can go before every stage. Ramunas Navardauskas (CPT) thought that it was a great idea to go there. Because you have to look good in the mountains.

Nelson Oliviera Movistar barbershop stage 6

See, no joke! Even Nelson Oliveira from Movistar went there. And doesn’t he look nice? With all the beards and long hair in the peloton these days, it was not a bad idea to open up a barbershop for the riders.

4 chris froome little guy

Still, there is no place like home. After three weeks of cycling around France most of the riders want to go home to their families and friends (vacation is number three on the list). This little fellow can’t wait to see his dad again. His dad? That guy on the podium wearing the yellow jersey. Indeed, Chris Froome.

4 Armindo Fonseca

Finally, a real teamselfie! These guys started the Tour de France with nine riders and they end it with nine riders. That is quite impressive. Team Fortuneo – Vital Concept goes home with no victory, but they sure had a good time.

Tour Life (2)


The first part of the Tour de France is done and dusted. We saw Mark Cavendish take three stages, a well deserved win for Greg van Avermaet and Chris Froome already won a stage and is wearing the yellow jersey right now. Behind the scenes a lot more happened in the lives of the riders in the Tour de France.

Inside the Lampre bus
Life in the Tour seems easy. You have breakfast, you walk to the bus, you sit down and put your legs up and off you go. Until the bus stops. That means one thing: get up and get on that bike for another four hours of cycling!

Kittel after stage 7 I mean Just No

It is a cow and… Marcel Kittel? Same sunglasses, different haircut? The presents they get on stage these days… In the Giro all the winners got this weird green thing, in the Tour they give away little fluffy cows. Kittel sure is a fan of this cow.

Greg why I mean... No

From a cow we go to the yellow lion! We all know that Greg van Avermaet was so proud to ride in yellow, but he never told us that he was also proud of the lion he got. And then he dressed him up like a rider. The things the riders do when they have nothing to do in the bus.

Mathias Frank swimming pool I know too much

After a stage in the mountains, riders want to cool down. Some riders choose to do this on the bike, others just climb in a cold bath in the team car right after they have finished. The riders from IAM Cycling have the privilege of taking their own cold baths in one of the team cars. Mathias Frank is quite enjoying his view here.

Tour de Theuns. Wow. July six

And when you can’t have a bath just after the finish, you just take one at the hotel. Edward Theuns from Trek-Segafredo thought that he could use a bath after a long stage in the mountains. He has the whole swimming pool for himself. I guess Fabian Cancellara was too tired to jump in with him.

Emanol Erviti one week cycling

This is the result of one week in the Tour de France. Imanol Erviti from Team Movistar shows his right leg. It was quite a sunny week!

Kreuziger restday

And then there was that first rest day. Finally, not a ride of more than 150 kilometers. Team Tinkoff did an easy ride and ended it with a nice cup of coffee.

Sinkeldam rest day I mean what

The riders from Team Giant-Alpecin did exactly the same. Just remember, if you take a photo of these guys, this is what you get (except for John Degenkolb, always a gentleman).

There will be more ‘Tour Life’ updates here, because we don’t want to miss out on the life of the riders in the Tour de France.

Crying Tears Of Happiness

The tears came right after the finish. Maybe his eyes were already filled with tears when he crossed that finish line in Sanremo. Tears of relief, tears of joy, tears of true happiness. That is the explanation that John Degenkolb gave for his tears after he won Milano-Sanremo in 2015. He was relieved to win his first monument in cycling. There was a big smile for his teammates, because they worked the whole day for him. There were also tears of happiness, because his wife gave birth to a son earlier that year.

Having a baby can change a life. Certainly, it gave Degenkolb more strength and power, but I believe that it is not the main reason of his win. The proof lays in the answers he gave in the many interviews after the finish. He stated that to have a chance of winning Milan-San Remo you have to save your legs. Save your legs as long as possible. Also, he said that the clue is to stay clear of the front all day and to never be in the back. One crash of one rider before you and you are not in a winning position anymore. Hide in the middle of the peloton and make yourself as small as possible. It is like you are not even there. And in the end you have to sprint like you never did before. But until that moment comes, save your legs.

Some great advice from Degenkolb. Still, the most important reason of his win is experience. It took him four years to get to know the roads of Milan-San Remo. He had to get to know every corner from the inside out, feel every bump in the road, hear the Italian people scream of excitement. Because in the end, you have to do it yourself. And in the back of your mind there are the memories, the disappointments and the experiences of the past years.  Those must have gone through his mind.  Before he knew it, big tears were rolling down his cheek. All the feelings of the past years, of the past weeks, of the past hours made their way out. A crying man in Italy. Crying tears of happiness.

J© Ansa/Claudio Peri (source: http://www.steephill.tv/rcs)