• Giant-Alpecin's John Degenkolb at the 2015 Tour de France teams presentation (Sirotti)Source: Sirotti
After enjoying a torrid six-months that any rider would dream of, John Degenkolb said he is feeling no pressure to perform ahead of the Tour de France.

3 Jul 2015 - 10:17 AM  UPDATED 3 Jul 2015 - 10:23 AM

With team-mate Marcel Kittel falling out of Tour selection after battling with poor form, Giant-Alpecin will no doubt be looking to Degenkolb to replicate his winning rides at Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.

"We knew it wasn't ideal because he had to catch up. We had all the team around him to give him confidence but in the end we decided there was too much risk," said team director Christian Guiberteau.

Kittel skittled out of Giant-Alpecin Tour selection
Marcel Kittel will not take part in the Tour de France after failing to fully recover from a virus, his Giant-Alpecin team said on Thursday.

It means Degenkolb will be the main man not only in the flat stages where they would normally have been planning to set up Kittel for the bunch sprint, but also on those intermediate or rolling stages in which the lead peloton that reaches the line tends to be reduced.

"Marcel is not here so I have more responsibility to be the lead sprinter in the flat stages," Degenkolb said.

"I'm probably not the biggest favourite in these kind of sprints, that's not my best quality, but with a great team behind me and a lead out that gives me an advantage over other riders, I see great chances to compete.

"It was in the end, of course, a surprise (that Kittel was dropped). I trained a lot with him and was a long time with him together. I saw his progression and knew it would be really tight for the Tour, but still it was a surprise because it's a big step to make a decision like this."

Degenkolb may have won some prestigious races such as Milan-San Remo in March, Paris-Roubaix in April, Gent-Wevelgem last year and nine Vuelta a Espana stages since 2012, but he has yet to win a Tour stage, something he hopes to rectify this month.

"Basically, the general goal is to win a stage. The goal hasn't changed but if there's the possibility to go for the green jersey, definitely I will try it and will not leave chances on the ground."

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