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John Degenkolb helps save Paris-Roubaix juniors with fundraiser

Joe Robinson
18 Feb 2019

After raising €14,000 in 24 hours, the junior event looks set to continue in 2019

Previous Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb has launched a Gofundme campaign to save the Under 19 race from cancellation after it announced a €10,000 sponsorship shortfall, raising the money in just one day. 

The race was struggling to cover the financial costs associated with organising the event and announced it would be cancelled if it did not cover the €10,000 shortfall. 

Degenkolb got wind of this and immediately launched a Gofundme page, firstly pledging his own money and then asking for others to help continue the marquee junior event. In less than 24 hours, Degenkolb and 394 Roubaix enthusiasts raised €14,614.

'Immediately it was clear to me that I wanted to do everything possible to prevent this worst case,' Degenkolb explained on the funding pages.

'Not only because I have a very special relationship to Paris-Roubaix. A race that fascinated me already as I was a child and directly infected me with the fascination for cycling. But also because of its importance for the support of young talents.

'In France, in Germany, worldwide. If cycling should have a sustainable future we need such races for the young guns - hardly anyone knows that better than me. I also benefited greatly from organisers and sponsors who allowed me to pursue my passion and career.'

The 2015 Roubaix champion claimed he would gift a 'Dege special Roubaix t-shirt' to all donators who pledge more than €25. He also promised that any surplus funding would be donated to Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix, the voluntary group that helps with the upkeep of the cobbles, of which Degenkolb is an ambassador.

Among the 394 donars are fellow pros Rick Zabel, Heinrich Haussler and Maarten Wynants.

The Under 19 Paris-Roubaix is currently organised by the Velo-Club de Roubaix Lille Metropole and John Malaise and runs on the same day as the men's senior event.

Since debuting in 2003, it has proven a true testing ground for future champions at the sport's highest level. Among those to count junior Roubaix in their palmares are Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas (2004), Tom Pidcock (2017) and Degenkolb's trade teammates Jasper Stuyven (2010) and Mads Pedersen (2013).

Degenkolb, himself, has tasted success on the cobbles of northern France winning the senior event in 2015 and then taking Stage 9 of the 2018 Tour de France which also tackled some of Roubaix's tough pave sectuers.

This success for Degenkolb off the bike was made sweeter by a sprint victory at the Tour de la Provence on Sunday.