John Degenkolb has won the green jersey at Paris – Nice after a week of hard work by him and his Team Giant-Shimano teammates.
The team controlled the race from the start in the build up to the first intermediate sprint of the day and John came through to take a vital three points here which by the end proved vital.
At the end of the final stage to Nice, Dries Devenyns was once again at the front of the race, only losing ground on the final climb of the day up the Col d’Eze. He came across the line in 28th place, 1’08″ down on the stage winner Arthur Vichot (FDJ) who out-sprinted the remainder of the small front group to take the stage.
John and the team battled all week to conserve his lead in the points competition, racing for intermediate sprints both in the bunch and in the breaks. The final outcome depended on overall race leader, Carlos Betancur’s (AG2R) finishing position and on the line John held on by just two points to secure the jersey.
Coach, Christian Guiberteau said: “It was really, really close today. The plan was to control the race for the first 20km and not let anything get away so John could sprint for the first intermediate. After he won this there wasn’t much else the guys could do. It depended on the finish result but it worked out in the end.
“Dries was looking good again and he is in really good shape for the coming classics. In general it has been a good Paris – Nice for the team. With a stage victory early on and then the defending of the green jersey which is hard work everyday. Everyone is really content to have won green as it was a real team effort, and I’m happy for them all.”
“Winning the green jersey is a nice success for the team and a reward for all the hard work here at Paris – Nice,” said John after the stage. “The guys controlled it well before the first sprint and those three points were very important.
“I’m happy with my form ahead of the classics and the team have done a really good job in selecting the best race program to get us in the best possible shape for the classics.”
Dries said: “I was feeling pretty good today but I lost contact with the front group on the descent before the Col d’Eze because of a split in the bunch. It’s a nice confidence boost for the upcoming races and this race has been perfect preparation for the classics with lots of kilometres and a lot of intensity.”