John Degenkolb talks Post Stage 1 Tour de France 2014

After crossing the line on stage 1 of the Grand Depart in Harrogate for the Tour de France we caught up with John Degenkolb of Team Giant Shimano on Marcel Kittel’s win and his own hopes for stage 2.

Image ©Pierre TH /




A Harrogate Yarn

article-2662512-1EEC4DC300000578-156_634x382So Le Tour is here, as proud Yorkshire lass I’m extremely excited, last night was spent in a rather damp Harrogate but it wasn’t stalling the party atmosphere, people were spilling out the bars and pubs on to the streets to enjoy their pints in the traditional northern drizzle. It did feel like a little bit of France had been grafted on to the historic town. Wooly knitted jerseys adorned the street furniture… some shrinkage had occurred, others looked like those old bathing suits from the 1940’s that would reveal all upon leaving the chilly surf of Skegness… I should point out I don’t have first knowledge of this I’m not that old! I have heard many tales from older relatives.


Mark at the start of Stage 1 Leeds – ©

The people of Yorkshire have taken the tour to their heart with everything from the wooly bunting mentioned above, matching sheep… so that’s how they get the polka dots on the jerseys! a pub renamed… The Cvndsh and Horses or Betty’s creating little Malliot Jaune.

I’m now set up in the press area at the finish line (I say finish line, it’s a fair old trek) while the very brave CS team members are out along the course or at the Depart in Leeds. Heather, Fred and Chris working their magic (as you may have seen from the tweets). 
10495687_1471807243061468_388344776117289403_oI’ve heard some amazing plans by friends of mine about where they intend to watch the race from and then whizz to the finish line, I have to say they are ambitious to say the least, I can’t wait to hear how they get on and if the rail system holds up under the unbelievable demand. There doesn’t look to be too much space for spectators near the finish line of stage one so it will be interesting to see what happens.
The approach to the finish line down Ripon Road is quite a spectacle without a mass of cyclists coming down it, so it should be a real treat to see the colourful peloton swarm it’s way down the hill past the Conference Centre, it then takes quite a nasty kick up towards the infamous Betty’s Tea Rooms, the speed the riders come down the Ripon Road will mean they cope with the rise quite well, but if it’s a breakaway or a few sprinters prematurely out of the pack it’s going to sting. I still think Kittel, Cav and Sagan will be in the mix but the weather could play a big part in the stage. The forecast is for rain early in the stage and clearing later but so far it’s been beautiful with the crowds and , so fingers crossed…the hills may not be that of the Grand Tours usual haunts but it’s not as flat as the stage profile leads you to believe, there are some really nasty sharp bumpy climbs before you even get to Cote de Buttertubs. The  peloton need to remain alert as a small group off the front may stay away and spoil the race for the sprinters in Harrogate. 
Currently as I write this there is a breakaway of riders Nichola Edet (Cofidis), the ever tenacious Jens Voigt (TREK) and Beniot Jarrier (Bretange), the crowds and scenery are everything you’d expect from the Tour de France, Yorkshire was made for this race. 
Back to the racing, more to follow…

2015 Tour of Yorkshire Official Launch – Yorkshire’s Cycling Legacy Begins

3 days before the Tour de France Grand Départ,
the legacy is already underway …

Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) supported by British Cycling have submitted an application to the UCI for a new, world class professional cycle race in Yorkshire.

If approved by the world’s governing body, the provisionally titled ”Tour of Yorkshire” will be a three-day race and its inaugural edition will run from 1 – 3 May 2015.

Based on the strong collaboration that has been built up between Welcome to Yorkshire and ASO for the Grand Départ and working in partnership with British Cycling, the race will be a 2.1 UCI Europe Tour event, guaranteeing the participation of some of the world’s leading cyclists and providing a fitting legacy to this year’s Tour de France visit in “God’s own County”. Indeed, the organisers are strongly committed to create what shall become “a breathtaking new race in a region made for cycling”.

Beyond the discovery of the entire Yorkshire County, certainly beyond the routes of the Tour de France Grand Départ, and an impactful promotion through international TV coverage, a strong focus will be put on not only sustaining, but further increasing the already outstanding enthusiasm for cycling in the UK. All three entities are therefore committed to creating a sustainable event which will also help grow the sport of cycling both in Yorkshire and nationally.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France added: “Alongside the public interest for cycling, highlighted by the Grand Départ, Yorkshire boasts beautiful breathtaking scenery worthy of any of the cycling season’s major events. It therefore seems perfectly natural for Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and ASO to continue working together in this new land of cycling, through the Tour of Yorkshire. In particular, this three-day stage race will offer television viewers worldwide the opportunity to continue discovering the splendid landscapes of this English region, a journey started by the Tour de France, whose Grand Départ this year will remain its founding act.”

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “When we bid to host the Tour de France we did so in the knowledge that this would be the start of a long relationship with ASO. So I am delighted to be able to announce this exciting new race for Yorkshire. Our county is a new cycling heartland of Europe and we look forward to welcoming back some of the world’s best riders in Yorkshire in less than 12 months’ time.”

Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s Director of Cycle Sport said: “We will await the decision of the UCI but I am confident that ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire will create a world-class event attractive to the best teams in cycling. What is more, all three organisations are committed to ensuring the race delivers lasting benefits to cycling by engaging more fans for our great sport and by encouraging more people to get active by getting on their bikes. What is common to all our events work is a determination that they inspire participation in the sport and support the network of volunteers upon whom cycling is reliant at every level.”


Press Release – Cavendish Leads Classic Field

• Mark Cavendish headlines Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic
• New status and tougher route in 2014
• Race to be shown live on BBC 1
Former World Champion and 25-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish will lead the line-up in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday 10 August, part of the Mayor of London’s multi-award winning annual festival of cycling.
The Manx cyclist will lead his Omega Pharma Quick-Step team in the event, which has been awarded 1.HC status (the second-highest international classification) by the UCI, the international cycling federation, in only its second year, and takes place on a new, tougher route this year.
Changes to the men’s pro race route will see the 200-kilometre racing start at 13:00 and focus on multiple circuits in the Surrey Hills. The changes include two climbs through Denbies Vineyard to Ranmore Common and the introduction of additional sections of the 2012 Olympic Road Race route, such as the climb of Staple Lane over the North Downs near Guildford.
The race will be covered live on BBC1 and shown internationally in more than 160 countries.
Cavendish will arrive at Prudential RideLondon from the Tour de France, where he’ll be setting his sights on winning the green points jersey, which he won in 2011.
“I’m excited to be riding in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic for the first time this year,” says Cavendish. “It’s another opportunity to race in front of the amazing crowds in Britain. Coming after the Tour de France and Commonwealth Games, more and more people are going to be at the roadside cheering us on and wanting to be a part of the weekend.”
“The whole event just shows the growth of cycling in Britain, so it will be great to be a part of it with my Omega Pharma Quick-Step team. We know it’s a challenging route, but we also know it’s one that can end in a sprint finish, which should suit the team and me.”
The 2013 British Champion will headline a 150-rider field comprised of 25 teams of six riders, including Cavendish’s current world number-one-ranked team Omega Pharma Quick-Step. Further details of the remaining teams and the world-class field of riders for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic will be announced in the coming weeks.
 “We are delighted to welcome Mark Cavendish and his Omega Pharma Quick-Step team to the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic,” said Race Director Mick Bennett. “The fact that he and his team have chosen to ride the event, and our elevation to Hors Categorie status for 2014, underlines Prudential RideLondon’s status as the world’s greatest festival of cycling.”
“This year we have looked at the route and made some significant changes to the race in the Surrey Hills, with the addition of the climb through Denbies Vineyard, an exciting and innovative change that we feel will benefit both spectators and riders.”
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic starts at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, goes out through central London and into Surrey with the main route changes taking place in the Surrey Hills. Fans are invited to watch the race at spectator vantage points along the route including Kingston, Wimbledon, Putney and Dorking.
First riders will tackle the climb of Staple Lane, a new addition to the 2014 route, before heading into Dorking and the climb of Coldharbour and Leith Hill.
After returning to Dorking the race will tackle two circuits of the ascent through Denbies Vineyard, before racing back through Dorking and on to Box Hill. The more direct route used by the London 2012 road race, via Leatherhead, Oxshott and Esher, will see the distance from the final climb to the finish shortened, bringing in to play a greater tactical element as the sprinters’ teams battle to bring back any breakaways.
The last 25km of the race features the recently renovated Ancient Market Place in Kingston, a new sprint up Wimbledon Hill, the Chelsea Embankment, Tate Britain, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall. The final kilometre marker at Downing Street will see the race intensify as the peloton speeds to Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and the final sprint for the line on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic is the fifth and final event of the Mayor of London’s Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling over the weekend of 9-10 August.
An extensive communications campaign is already underway to help businesses and the public plan and get around on the day, as well as make the most of the events over the weekend. Since May, information has been sent to more than 1 million residents and businesses along and close to the event routes to help them plan ahead – further information will follow in July. A series of public information sessions will be held next month in the affected areas to provide details of the temporary changes in place and to offer residents and businesses the opportunity to ask questions. Information on travel disruption and advice is available on To avoid delays, wherever possible all drivers are advised to avoid areas near the event routes.

Kingston Takes Centre Stage for Handcycling At Ride London

• Fifth event added to Prudential RideLondon
• Handcycle event to start at Kingston
• Kingston to host family-friendly festival for great day out
The Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic, part of the Mayor of London’s multi-award winning festival of cycling, will start at Kingston upon Thames on Sunday 10 August.
It becomes the fifth event within the world’s largest festival of cycling. Last year, the handcycle event was part of the series of Grand Prix criterium races in St James’s Park on the Saturday evening.
A field of up to 50 elite handcyclists, including top names from Paralympic sport, will line up on the start line in Kingston’s Ancient Market Place at 0830 on Sunday 10 August to race over a 15 mile route through the capital to finish in spectacular style on The Mall.
“Kingston is a key part of the route for Prudential RideLondon with the riders in the mass participation event and the men’s professional race passing through twice,” said Event Director Hugh Brasher. “Making the handcycling an event in its own right and moving it to Kingston means we offer the athletes a more testing challenge and make Kingston a central focus of the events on Sunday 10 August.”
“Kingston is proud to be hosting this event and to be at the heart of some great cycling action once again,” said Councillor David Glasspool, Kingston Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Heritage, Tourism and Leisure. “People will see Kingston at its best as we welcome Prudential RideLondon to our streets. Kingston town centre will be open for business as usual on 10 August with a family-friendly bike festival creating a carnival atmosphere for residents and visitors.”
As well as lining the route to cheer on the riders, people will be able to pull up a deck chair and watch the action on a giant screen, visit a cycling exhibition featuring the best international and independent cycling brands, and make the most of all that Kingston’s variety of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and market stalls has to offer.
All car parks in Kingston town centre will be open as usual on 10 August, although access may be different due to road closures. Check nearer the time.
“This event is amazing,” says Walter Ablinger (Austria), winner of the 2013 Prudential RideLondon Handcycle race. “I will never forget winning in front of Buckingham Palace with thousands of spectators cheering us on. I’m very excited to hear the plans for this year and I’m really looking forward to lining up on the start line in Kingston on 10 August.”
The Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic will take place during the same road closure window that was originally planned for Sunday 10 August and does not involve any additional road closures.
An extensive communications campaign is already underway to help businesses and the public plan and get around on the day, as well as make the most of the events over the weekend. Since May, information has been sent to more than 1 million+ residents and businesses along and close to the event routes to help them plan ahead – further information will follow in July. A series of public information sessions are being held in the affected areas to provide details of the temporary changes in place and to offer residents and businesses the opportunity to ask questions. Information on travel disruption and advice is available on To avoid delays, wherever possible all drivers are advised to avoid areas near the event routes.


Prudential RideLondon comprises five separate events: the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle, the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, the Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic over the weekend of 9-10 August 2014. Find out more at