Apr 09, 2023 at 7:55 PMUpdate: 34 minutes ago
John Degenkolb does not blame Mathieu van der Poel and Jasper Philipsen after his fall in Paris-Roubaix. The Team DSM rider ended up in the grass in the final and could forget his second overall victory in ‘De Hel van het Noorden’.
On the last cobblestone section, 34-year-old Degenkolb crashed. The German had come into contact with Van der Poel, who should have swerved slightly for Philipsen. “An unfortunate moment,” Degenkolb calls it in front of the NOS camera.
“If three men want to be in the same place, then at some point there will be no more room. Unfortunately, I was the victim of that,” Degenkolb continued, who did not want to point the blame. “I don’t know what exactly happened either. The only thing I do know is that my shoulder hurts quite a bit.”
Despite the fall, Degenkolb was able to continue his way and the winner of 2015 finished seventh, about 2.5 minutes behind Van der Poel. “I will never forget the standing ovation when entering the Vélodrome. I finished seventh, but received the same applause as the winner. That is unique.”
Mathieu van der Poel and Jasper Philipsen console John Degenkolb. Photo: Getty Images
Afterwards, Van der Poel and Philipsen had an eye for Degenkolb
After the finish on the Vélodrome André Pétrieux of Roubaix, Degenkolb lay in the grass for a few minutes to process everything. Although Van der Poel and Philipsen did not feel guilty, they offered him comfort. “You don’t want to see anyone fall,” Philipsen said.
“I said sorry to John,” continued Philipsen, who finished second behind Alpecin-Deceuninck teammate Van der Poel. “But I don’t think Mathieu and I really did anything wrong. It’s a racing moment.”
Van der Poel also did not feel that the fault lay with him. “I don’t really know what happened,” said the winner. “If it was my fault then I want to apologize to John. But in my eyes it was just a racing situation.”
For Degenkolb it is the disappointment that remains. “I have no choice but to accept it,” he said. “It was a fantastic race for a long time. I showed that I still belong and it was a huge honor to be there. The outcome is of course very disappointing, but that is part of sport.”