John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won Paris-Bourges for the second year in a row Thursday.
Despite a handful of attacks early on, a breakaway of six riders wasn’t established until 60km in. Gaining six minutes over the field at one point, the group of six were eventually caught by seventeen riders as heavy crosswinds created large and decisive field splits during much of the race.
“The race was pretty full on from the beginning with constant attacks until a small group got away,” said Degenkolb. “Behind this we controlled together with Saxo but then couldn’t follow the attacks in the hills.”
With 40km remaining in the race, the peloton remained in splinters, leaving the chase up to Giant-Shimano and other teams.
“We kept calm though and gambled a bit that the other teams would help chase,” said Degenkolb of the prolonged chase through heavy crosswinds.
At 5km to go, the charging peloton caught the remaining riders of the late break to secure a field sprint. Giant-Shimano’s train successfully led out Degenkolb for his second consecutive victory at the one-day race. Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) rounded out the podium.
“I managed to get myself into a good position at the finish, in the final kilometers and then had enough speed to take the win,” Degenkold said after his victory. “It’s great to win here again and a nice boost late in the season. Next up Paris-Tours.”