Place 2 - John Degenkolb
Type of rider: Northern classics, Sprinter, Hilly classics
Most important victory: 3rd U23 World Championships 2008
Team/club 2010 : Thüringer Energie Team
Team 2011 : Team HTC-Columbia
Best Mock List Ranking: 4th (2009)
„What a bull!“, „That guy is never going to make it over the hills in higher age groups!”. Such or similar comments have often been said about John Degenkolb since he began dominating the national cycling scene in the youth ranks like no one did for a long time. He certainly was further in his physical development than most of his competitors. But now after his third season in the U23, a continuous development and numerous successes on a top level, nobody will seriously doubt the world class of the Gera born German.
Degenkolb is a powerhouse and if you place him on a cyclo-ergometer, he would probably put on an amount of watts that not many road cyclists are capable of – especially not in the U23 ranks. Despite that power one should not ignore that he is also racing very well tactically. He is not that type of rider, who is getting his results in time trials or mountain top finishes, where it comes up to power only. Flat or slightly hilly terrains, that is what he is built for, and out of small or bigger groups, there he has to achieve his successes. Like it was the case for his biggest result, according to himself: the U23 World Championships in Verona, where he crowned the tactical master piece of the German team with the bronze medal.
No doubt that Degenkolb could have been a professional since 2009. But in full accordance to the philosophy of the Thüringer Energie Team, he was meant to be developed carefully and complete his apprenticeship as police officer first. Like with Tony Martin before it had the positive side effect for the team of two more years with a lot of good results. On the other hand it allowed Degenkolb to tie a record: With his third Mock List nomination (after 17th in 2008 and 4th in 2009) he catches up with Tony Martin (4th, 5th, 2nd from 2005 to 2007) and Simon Clarke (20th, 20th, 3rd from 2006 to 2008). He will not aim for holding this record exclusively as he will give his long awaited professional debut with HTC-Columbia in 2011. Because he was already presented in the last two years in the Mock List, we refer to those reports for detailed reviews of his past seasons and pay here full attention to the 2010 season.
Despite of two great seasons in the U23 so far, one thing had gone missing: victories. Sure, winning a stage at the Thüringen-Rundfahrt and in the Bundesliga (German U23 cycling league) is not bad, but actually not satisfying for a rider of his class. Also this year started extremely well with a fourth place in the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux (2.2), a sixth place at Tour of Flanders (1.NC) and a second place in the Côte Picarde (1.NC) - but without a victory. But right afterwards, he got going and went to an enormous amount of twelve season wins. With five professional wins among that (not accounting the U23 races) he tied a record for German U23 riders, which Andreas Klöden set up in 1998.
Fourth stage of the Tour de Bretagne (2.2) in a mass sprint ahead of Molmy and Bol. 1. The fifth stage in the same race as the strongest on hilly terrain out of a four man group ahead of Arguelyes and Morizot. 2. Again the king stage and a mass sprint at the Irish stage race FDC Insurace Ras (2.2). 3. 4. The German U23 National Championships on the hilly course of the classic “Rund um die Hainleite” thanks to a solo attack on the last 20km. 5. After another massive attack, this time accompanied by Timothy Roe, he got his first win in the national champion jersey at the third stage of the Thüringen-Rundfahrt (2.2U). 6. With that he secured the general classification as well in the most important race for the team sponsor. 7. The Bundesliga is no priority for Degenkolb in his race calander, but in the race in Ilsfeld he once again showed his class. 8. After some victories as Baroudeur he snatched another one in a mass sprint at the Tour Alsace (2.2). 9. Also in a mass sprint, this time with a slight uphill finish and against the complete U23 world class, he won the first stage of the Tour de l’Avenir (2.NC) ahead of Matthews and Kwiatkowski. 10. On the fifth stage he showed again his qualities in a breakaway and prevailed out of strong group (with the likes of Herrada and Oliveira). 11. Being in excellent shape the Bundesliga race in Heilbronn was almost merely a matter of form. 12.
You can employ many comparisons and superlatives, but all of them will have a common denominator: John Degenkolb is one of the best Espoirs of the world of the last years and as far as Germany is concerned perhaps the best one in the new millennium. The 21 year old is a huge talent for the classics, including the northern classics, and could be successful as a sprinter in the professional ranks as well, even though the competition is big within HTC-Columbia. Before that his last big race in U23 ranks is calling: the World Championships in Melbourne, where “Dege”, with the form he showed during the Tour de l’Avenir, is for sure one of top favourites. 13?
nominated by all, written by chreezer, translated by chreezer