John Degenkolb v Michael ‘Bling’ Matthews

John Degenkolb and Michael Matthews are suited to similar sorts of stages, but yet I much, much prefer the former. Why?

I’ve given it some thought and I think it boils down to name, appearance and interests.


Michael Matthews’ nickname is ‘Bling’. I might be alone in this, but I find that spectacularly annoying.

I don’t know John Degenkolb’s nickname, but he’s German, so it’s probably ‘John Degenkolb’.


Michael Matthews wears jewellery.

John Degenkolb sports a smashing moustache.


As you’d imagine, Michael Matthews likes designer shit. He also has a Porsche Cayenne with personalised plates.

Meanwhile, on a Tour de France reconnaisance ride in Yorkshire, John Degenkolb became so obsessed with dry stone walls that he apparently wouldn’t speak about anything else for the whole time he was there.

He even started asking his own questions in press conferences:

“All these walls there. I mean, it must be so much work to put these walls there. Who did it? And when did they do it?”

Enough of this – what was the stage like?

Quite hard. Too hard for Nacer Bouhanni, which meant Degenkolb v Matthews at the finish – hence the rambling preamble.

Degenkolb won.


Bouhanni wasn’t the only one to suffer, however. Pretty much every Sky rider had a shit day – even, somewhat sadly, Peter Kennaugh, who lost 11 minutes near enough. I was hoping for an impressive performance from him in this Vuelta. This wasn’t it.

Carlos Betancur watch

Finished 17 minutes down today. The man who came fifth in last year’s Giro d’Italia is currently lying third from last.

Stage five

Not enormously dissimilar from stage four, but not as hard. Here’s the profile. I’d imagine Degenkolb and Matthews will have to contend with Bouhanni on this one.


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