TOURS, France (AP) — Germany's John Degenkolb won the Paris-Tours classic Sunday, beating Denmark's Michael Morkov and France's Arnaud Demare in a mass sprint.
Degenkolb completed the 146-mile ride from Authon-du-Perche to Tours in 5 hours, 29 minutes, 19 seconds. He was regarded as a strong favorite after winning the Paris-Bourges race Thursday.
Morkov finished second, with Demare third and Tyler Farrar of the United States fourth.
"It was a fast and hectic race," said Degenkolb, who rides for Argos-Shimano and won for the sixth time this season. "The situation was always changing. We had a good plan and I think we rode a smart race. There was always someone from our team in the important groups, and there was always someone to take responsibility for the chase."
Defending champion Marco Marcato of Italy attacked in the Cote de Beau Soleil and was followed by six riders — Degenkolb, Morkov, Jetse Bol of the Netherlands, Sep Vanmarcke of Belgium and Frenchmen Demare and Sylvain Chavanel.
Bol escaped 4 miles from the finish but could not hold off a late charge from the pack with less than a mile to go. Demare made his move on the Avenue de Grammont but was overtaken by Degenkolb.
"He raced a really classy race," Argos-Shimano manager Christian Guiberteau said. "He was the top favorite, and that's not an easy position to be in. But he was always in control in the finale and no one could stop him in the end."
Bryan Coquard of France, a 2012 Olympic runner-up in the omnium, fell in a crash about 15 miles from the finish. The Frenchman got back on his bike and rejoined the pack but was out of contention in the sprint.