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"I am in the process of building up my training for later results, so it is logical that I had it hard in the first part of the race. I suffered from cramping on some of the local laps and was dropped on the climbs - and two times Slav...

Photo: Paumer Kare Dhelie Thorstad

RUND UM DEN FINANZPLATZ ESCHBORN-FRANKFURT

RACE PROFILE
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01.05.2016 @ 23:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) proved that he is already back in form after the classics when he took a dominant victory in the reduced bunch sprint that decided the Rund um den Finanzplatz. After being dropped the final two times up the steep Mammolshainer Berg, he rejoined the group in time for the reduced bunch sprint and turned out to be in a class of his own as he easily held off Maximilano Richeze (Etixx-QuickStep) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) to make it two in a row in the German classic.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Cramps can’t stop Alexander Kristoff in comeback race

In a repeat performance from 2014, Team KATUSHA’s Alexander Kristoff won again on Sunday in the one-day Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt, sprinting in for the victory after just over five hours of racing. It was the seventh win for Kristoff in the 2016 racing season.

 

“This was my first race in some time and I was not quite ready for it, just like in 2014 when I also won. I am in the process of building up my training for later results, so it is logical that I had it hard in the first part of the race. I suffered from cramping on some of the local laps and was dropped on the climbs – and two times Slava Kuznetsov brought me back, one time all by himself. He did an amazing job. In the end, I was still there and could be patient. Slava brought me to the front in the last kilometer and then Alexey Tsatevich took over. He did a perfect lead out for me. It was hard with the head wind. I was afraid I had started too early, but I kept my speed until the end,” said team leader Alexander Kristoff.

 

Joining Kristoff on the podium in Frankfurt were Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx – Quick Step) and Sam Bennett of Bora-Argon. KATUSHA teammate Tsatevich was 12th.

 

“This was a nice race for the team. Everyone stuck to the plan we made before the race. There was a lot of pressure on Alexander so it was an important day. Matvey Mamykin did a great race. He showed us the perfect attitude for such a young guy and went away in the hilly German region with 9 others. In the end the race was like we hoped with a maximum of 30-40 riders left to sprint. Tsatevich and Kuznetsov did a great job in the last 5 km. It was nice to work with this group,” said sports director Torsten Schmidt.

 

Alexander Kristoff will next race in the Amgen Tour of California. Asked if he feels a lot of pressure for California, the successful sprinter claims he has it under control.

 

“No, on the contrary. I prefer to have the stress now rather than later in the season,” concluded Alexander Kristoff.

 

Near-miss for Maximilano Richeze after aggressive Etixx-QuickStep showing in Frankfurt

The 54th edition of Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt was another action-packed one, and Etixx – Quick-Step was in the spotlight from the start, with Niki Terpstra, who went in the early break which counted seven riders. After 60 kilometers, the Dutch champion and Bjorn Thurau (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) attacked from that group and opened a gap of 1:20, but with the peloton coming strong from behind, it was a short-lived move and they were reeled in.

 

Immediately, Tony Martin surged clear from the bunch and was joined by the young Colombian Daniel Martinez (Southeast-Venezuela). The hilly terrain helped the two get a 45-second advantage over the chasers, which sow panic and forced the sprinters' teams to ride full gas behind. They too were caught, but that only prompted a counterattack of David De La Cruz, who was riding his first race since completing the tough and snowy Liège-Bastogne-Liège and put on a long and sustained effort in order to stay in the lead and force the opponents to take initiative at the head of the pack.

 

It was all back together with 12 kilometers to go, when CCC Polkowice and Katusha shared duties and led the 40-man peloton at a frantic pace on the flat circuit in Frankfurt. In the last kilometers, Etixx – Quick-Step came again to the forefront to set up the sprint, and although it did an excellent job, had to settle with second place in the end, as Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) proved to be too strong for Maximiliano Richeze. Still, the result of the 33-year-old was a very impressive one, considering he was injured earlier in the season and this was just his 15th day in the saddle since the beginning of 2016. Equally impressive was the the 5th place of Yves Lampaert, who raced for the first time since Tirreno-Adriatico and showed that he's on the right road to his very best.

 

“It's nice to return to the feeling og the adrenaline of the sprint! Thanks to my teammates and the trust from team. Next race is Dunkirk,” Richeze tweeted after the rce.

 

Sam Bennett close to big home win for Bora-Argon 18

In the peloton Bora-Argon 18 concentrated its tactics on a sprint finish with Sam Bennett. The team always controlled the gap to the leaders, which never increased to a lot more than 2 minutes.

 

After the breakaway has been caught with about 50k to go, Tony Martin made a move, but was also brought back by Bora-Argon 18 and Katusha. In the final kilometres Bennett still had help from his teammates Dominik Nerz, Paul Voss and Emanuel Buchmann. He crossed the line in 3rd place. A podium in front of the team’s home crowd is still a great result and hopefully a reward for the fans of German cycling.

 

“We tried to support Sam (Bennett) today from the beginning, but we lost two riders pretty early in the race. Because the group was also strong, we had to work earlier than expected, which did cost a lot of energy. But the team did a great job today. We achieved our goal to bring Sam into the final laps in a good position, with Dominik (Nerz), Paul (Voss) and Emu (Buchmann) still there to support him. Maybe it was a little mistake that Sam was not directly on the wheel of Kristoff in the sprint, but a podium here in Frankfurt is a strong result. Of course we would have loved to take the win in front of our home crowd, but we also really enjoyed that a lot of fans celebrated German cycling today again,” said Enrico Poitschke, sports director.

 

Solid top 10 for Polish sprinter in Frankfurt

Verva’s Pawel Franczak was 7th 

 

“The team did very well, neutralized dangerous actions and helping me in the end,” he said “The race was hard, but I was going well on the climband I knew I could fight. The final kilometers were very winding so we were strung out and it was hard to move up. With 400 meters to go, I took a chance and went from about 12-13th position because I knew that I could not wait any longer. It was enough for seventh place, and I am happy. “

 

Another top 10 for in-form Maurits Lammertink in Frankfurt

With an eighth place Maurits Lammertink posted the best result of the delegation from Roompot - Orange Peloton. The team of Michel Cornelisse also animated the race in different ways.

 

After Kai Reus and Etienne van Empel were briely part of a leading group, Reinier Honig was in the break of the day.  In the end, Johnny Hoogerland dropped teammate Maurice Lammertink off in a good position. Lammertink finished eighth and thus took his fourth top 10 finish of the season. Hoogerland finished 40th.

 

 

Fabian Wegmann: The race was not hard enough

Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt (1.HC) is traditionally held on 1 May. After an exciting race Fabian Wegmann sprinted to 10th place and was the best-placed German.

 

Team Stölting Service Group had big plans for the prestigious 206.8 km German classic and wanted to make the race. Lennard Kämna, Sven Reutter, and Thomas Koep all went into breakaways that were however soon caught again.

 

Back in the peloton, Thomas Koep joined the chase work, riding many kilometres at the front of the pack. This meant that the last escapees could be reeled in with 60 km to go, just before the third of four ascents of the Mammolshainer Berg.

 

After the Mammolshainer Berg and its gradients of up to 23%, Christian Mager, Linus Gerdemann, Fabian Wegmann, and Rasmus Guldhammer were placed well. Only the fourth ascent could bring a decision, however. Local favourite Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick Step) and Daniel Martínez (Southeast – Venezuela) rode just ahead of the peloton for some time, but went into the fourth ascent just seconds in front of the chasers.

 

Here, Martin’s teammate David de la Cruz got away. Behind him, Wegmann and Gerdemann were part of a strong group of about 20 riders. But not all the other teams committed fully to this group, and on the descending run-in to Frankfurt several groups could join from behind including most of the sprinters.

 

In the end, Wegmann and Guldhammer gave it their all against the sprint specialists and finished in positions 10 and 11. With this result, Wegmann was the best-placed German in the race. All groups that were in danger of being lapped were taken out of the race on the three short finishing laps à 3 km which meant that only three Team Stölting Service Group riders finished the race.

 

After the race, Sports Director Jochen Hahn said: “It wasn’t the perfect race for us, but it was OK. We did what we could, and I’m proud of the teamwork we showed.”

 

“The race wasn’t hard enough to completely eliminate the sprinters,” Fabian Wegmann analysed the race. “The Feldberg and the Mammolshainer Berg weren’t raced at full speed by many teams, so the sprinters made it back. I want to say thank you to my teammates who supported me so well today.”

 

John Degenkolb targets successful Tour de France after solid comeback in Frankfurt

The race saw the return of John Degenkolb to his home race for the first time since the accident and Giant-Alpecin was extremely pleased to have him back in the line-up.

 

On the third time up the Mammolshainer, no rider managed to escape but the difficulty proved too much for Degenkolb after using a lot of energy at the front of the peloton in the early part of the stage.

 

Finally, the race came back together in the last 15km, as the teams prepared for the sprint. Simon Geschke and Sam Oomen were present in the bunch and visible at the front. In the sprint, Geschke finished just outside the top 10 in 13th place.

 

John Degenkolb gave his thoughts after the race:

 

“From the start, I’ve tried to show myself at the front of the bunch and to have a good race. Relatively early in the race, the pace was really high, and after four hours of racing, as expected, it was enough. Overall, I am satisfied with my ride and I tried to work for the team as much as possible.

 

“It would have been nice if Simon or Sam got away on the last climb, but in the end, it was a sprint and I hope next year that I can be involved in it.

 

“The support from the people, the fans was amazing today and it’s great for my confidence for the upcoming months. I didn’t have specific preparation for this race on my way towards the Tour. The first step was to pin on a race number and I am really happy how it went today.

 

”I hope my current freshness will be to my advantage near the end of the season. At the moment, I don’t have the needed intensity yet, but I hope I will have it again at the Tour.”

 

Simon Geschke said: “We were in a good position before the third and fourth time up the Mammolshainer, but in the end there were still too many riders in the bunch contesting the sprint which made it difficult for me or Sam to achieve a result.”

 

“Like we expected beforehand it was a fast and offensive race,” explained Coach Mattias Reck. “It took a long time for the first break to stay away and it was not until the long climb of Feldberg.

 

“Together with a few other teams, we then kept the break under control. It was nice to see John back and helping the team before the crucial points going up the Mammonshain. From there on Simon and Sam took over. In the end, the group was too big to get away or make a result in the sprint.”

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