You could almost feel the frustration coming through the television camera as John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) jumped – still riding his bike – up and down in anger on the descent of the Poggio. Degenkolb had done all he could to keep close to the climbers on the final climb of Milan-San Remo but a mechanical problem scuppered any chance he might have of getting back to the leading group.
After putting in a deep effort at the bottom of the Poggio to move up the main peloton, Degenkolb had lost contact with the front as the group split under pressure of the high pace set by the likes of Deceuninck-QuickStep. However, Degenkolb – whose bike was equipped with SRAM’s 1x 12-speed eTap groupset – dropped a chain on the descent of the climb.
Despite Degankolb’s best efforts, he could not get the chain back on, and with no team car anywhere near him, there was nothing he could do. Though he had been distanced, without the issue, Degenkolb believed that there was still an opportunity to bridge back the gap.
“The first monument of the year is done, and it’s actually a big disappointment for all of us,” Degenkolb said in a video posted by his Trek-Segafredo team. “Until the bottom of the Poggio, everything went perfect. It was really good to arrive in good shape with good legs.
“My position going into the climb was not great, so I had to suffer a bit to stay in the group there and make a good position. Then, it split in front of me, but even then, there was still a chance to come back, I believe, and then I had a mechanical and then the race was over. I’m very happy how the team worked as great together as we did. I hope we can [get a] reward in the next races.”
In the end, Degenkolb would finish in 84th place at 2:37 back while Gianluca Brambilla was the team’s best finisher in 34th place at 27 seconds behind the winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep). Directeur sportif Steven de Jongh said that losing out to a mechanical problem at Milan-San Remo was a bitter blow.
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