John Degenkolb finished off the final day of the Challenge Mallorca with a win, outsprinting Erik Baška (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Coen Vermeltfoort (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) on Sunday at the Trofeo Palma.
“I am so happy—thanks to my team,” Degenkolb said. “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 on the winning line again.”
Trofeo Palma completed a solid four days of racing in the Challenge Mallorca for Trek-Segafredo, as the team took victories on three of the days. Degenkolb also captured the win on the opening day of Challenge Mallorca, Thursday, at the Trofeo Campos and Toms Skujins soloed to the victory on Saturday at the Trofeo Lloseta-Andratx.
“We showed again we were the strongest team in the race,” Degenkolb added. “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 lead out, 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.”
Six riders escaped early in the 160-kilometer race and gained a maximum advantage of around five minutes. Lotto Soudal and Trek-Segafredo did most of the pacemaking in the peloton to keep the gap relatively close. A category 3 climb with around 40 kilometers to go was the toughest obstacle standing between the sprinters and the finish.
Most of the sprinters were able to get over the climb and soon after the climb, the breakaway was caught. The final run-in to the finish was flat and fast, setting the stage for a bunch sprint. Degenkolb handily took the win over Baška and Vermeltfoort.
The majority of the riders that raced at the Challenge Mallorca also participate in the Classics. The four-day Challenge Mallorca is way for the Classics riders to get a few race kilometers in, but in a low-key and stree-free atmosphere. Most will now head to Europe or the Middle East to begin their seasons in earnest and to fully prepare themselves for the Classics season ahead. The Classics kickoff at the end of February with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
- 1. John Degenkolb, (GER) TREK – SEGAFREDO, 03:47:29
- 2. Erik Baska, (SVK) BORA – HANSGROHE, 03:47:29
- 3. Coen Vermeltfoort, (NED) ROOMPOT – NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ, 03:47:29
- 4. Enrique Sanz Unzue, (ESP) EUSKADI BASQUE COUNTRY – MURIAS, 03:47:29
- 5. Carlos Barbero, (ESP) MOVISTAR TEAM, 03:47:29
- 6. Albert Torres Barcelo, (ESP) SPAIN, 03:47:29
- 7. Jordi Warlop, (BEL) SPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, 03:47:29
- 8. José Rojas, (ESP) MOVISTAR TEAM, 03:47:29
- 9. Leonardo Basso, (ITA) TEAM SKY, 03:47:29
- 10. Xavier CaÑellas Sanchez, (ESP) SPAIN, 03:47:29