• Giant-Alpecin at a team training session in Calpe, Spain (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Giant-Alpecin does not have a Plan B for its spring classics campaign in the absence of Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix champion John Degenkolb.
By
Sophie Smith

Source:
Cycling Central
12 Feb 2016 - 10:54 AM  UPDATED 12 Feb 2016 - 10:55 AM

Degenkolb is likely to miss the classics following a horrific team training camp accident last month in which the bunch he was in collided with a motorist, who was driving on the wrong side of the road. 

Speaking from the Tour of Qatar, team sports director Marc Reef said the outfit, without the German leader, will have to reconsider its approach to the series of races. 

“We don’t have a second John in the team but maybe we can surprise with one or two guys in the race,” Reef said. “I think that is the case with a lot of teams. You saw it last year, for example, with [Fabian] Cancellara that he was out and Trek didn’t have a second guy. 

“We have to look to different goals, maybe not for the victory but that we can have another result or in the way we can show ourselves in the races.” 

The wind battered Tour of Qatar is considered an early testing ground for classics specialist and Degenkolb was due to the start the five-stage event that rival spring king and Tour of Flanders champion Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) is competing at. 

Kristoff explained the physicality the desert race demands is similar to that required at the classics.  

“In the crosswinds you really go at maximum for quite long times. In other races maybe you’re also going fast but for not such a period,” the Norwegian said of Qatar. “And also for the fighting, to get used to the fight for the corner, for the position is also part of the classics so you get more used to this when you come here.” 

Degenkolb suffered from a laceration to his leg, fractured forearm and damaged hand in the January accident that involved five other teammates and has impacted on the squad even racing in Qatar. 

No early Classics start for injured Degenkolb
The European classics season will miss its biggest star as a result of last month’s horrifying training accident in Calpe, Spain.

Giant-Alpecin was able to afford only five cyclists at the tour with Belgian Zico Waeytens and leader of the best young rider classification, Soren Kragh Andersen the only two from that set due to ride for the team at the classics. 

The rookie pro Andersen has shown an aptitude for racing here but will partake in only some of the classics for experience. 

“He is doing a good job here but we cannot expect something from him yet. He’s only 21 years old so he will need some time to get stronger and get the experience in those races,” Reef said. 

The team will review its situation later in the season as it continues to process the change and determine a squad for spring. 

“We will see after Paris –Nice and after Tirreno-Adriatico how the guys, who are at the moment on the program for the classics, [are]. We can have a better overview of the whole situation then and make a decision how we are going to race in those races.”