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Heat of the chase – and the desert – gets to German after he and team mates miss out on decisive move

It’s been a difficult 2016 for John Degenkolb, and the German’s frustration’s boiled over in the heat of the desert at the UCI Road World Championships today as he aimed a jet of water from his bidon into the face Belgium’s Jens Debusschere, accompanied by a fair bit of yelling and finger pointing which continued for several minutes.

Degenkolb, unable to defend his Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix titles in the spring due to injuries sustained when a driver ploughed into him and a group of Giant-Alpecin colleagues at a training camp in Spain, missed out on the group that would contest the finish today as crosswinds blew the race apart.

So too did his team mates Andre Greipel and Tony Martin, but the Belgians had six men up the road, including Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, and Tom Boonen, who would finish third behind defending champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, and Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish.

> Sagan outsprints Cavendish to retain rainbow jersey

Debusschere’s crime? To help his team mates up the road by working with Iljo Keisse to slam the door shut on the German contingent’s repeated efforts to reduce the gap to the front group. He was pretty good at it too, and on another day – not this one, though – Degenkolb might have been impressed by his efforts.

Mind you, one of Debusschere’s team mates was caught on camera during the race doing his own bit of, erm, squirting …

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.