Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt 01/05 (1.HC)

For the third year running, I am making the thread on this, the greatest and most storied of German Classics (take that, Cyclassics!). There are a number of reasons to love this race, but my main one is a sentimental one; my love of cycling was born at the Rund um den Henninger Turm (as it was back then), back when I used to live on the race route. This is rather unusually this year the start of German racing season, with the Rund um Köln moving back a few weeks to sit between this and the Rund um die Braunkohle, with the Velothon Berlin bringing up the rear in June.

The race is over an interesting course, which is 200,6km in length, so a pretty reasonable length. The course has undergone a few tweaks, as has been the case pretty consistently in recent years. For the most part, these changes are for the better, in my opinion.

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The race begins in the suburb of Eschborn, which houses a number of high-rises (albeit ones that are inevitably dwarfed by their neighbours in "Mainhattan"), and begins with a flat roll down through Frankfurt's suburbs into the city centre. Eschborn's S-Bahn station falls within the same zone as the city centre, so a lot of fans will watch the start then pile into the commuter trains - not carrying any commuters on May 1 since it's a public holiday - to Taunusanlage or Hauptwache to see the finish (hey, just a tip for any forumites in the area) for a lap of the finishing circuit before heading out of town to the north, passing all three University campuses (humour me, I'm being nostalgic), the now obsolescent Bockenheim, the imposing Bauhaus architecture of Westend (the building taken from IG Farben after the war) and the newer, less central Riedberg, sat on a small hill overlooking the northern fringes of the city and serving as the first mountain prime, although really it isn't much of a climb. Last year it was just a little loop around Riedberg and they returned directly to Oberursel, but this year there's a longer lead-in with the course heading to Bad Homburg before dipping back to the southwest into Oberursel.

This starts us on the day's climbing for real, and as usual the day's first obstacle is the biggest, the Großer Feldberg, which is the highest point in the Taunus mountain range that overlooks Frankfurt and makes up much of central Hesse. This is a long climb but not especially steep climb, and the descent leads into a period of mostly either rolling or descending, broken up by the short but steep rise of the Ruppertshain. Then the riders take a brief detour into Eppstein; normally there is a small (ca 600m) climb within Eppstein itself, but unfortunately due to roadworks this has had to be removed from the route for 2013, so there will be about 30km of fairly uncomplicated flat terrain between the Ruppertshain and the next climb.

However, the organisers have found a way around this problem, and I commend them for it, for I approve of this change. That's right, an extra, bonus ascent of the race's trademark, the nasty-as-all-hell Mammolshainer Berg. This nasty climb is about 2,6km at 7%, but reaches a maximum of a Purito-tastic 26%. The route does a loop of a 15km circuit, but after the second ascent of the Mammolshain another longer loop including the Ruppertshain gives the riders a bit of a break (and make sure it's not totally torn apart here removing a number of challengers from contention) before they return to take on the brute 2 more times, the last cresting 32km from the finish (which is also an improvement on the previous route, where it was over 40km from home), before running back into Frankfurt to finish on 3 laps of a short, tight circuit around Frankfurt's rebuilt Alte Oper and the eponymous Finanzplatz area that gives the city its imposing skyline. This finishing circuit has also been tweaked, to make it a bit less twisty than in the last few years and also with the run-in now coming from Messe rather than Westend there's no need for that tight chicane with 400m to go. The route still twists and turns in its first half, but there's less risk of crashing if a sizable group comes to the end together. The short length of the circuit often means that the number of finishers is low as any who have lost minutes will be pulled from the circuit.

Right, enough about the route, let's talk about the racing.

One of the best things about the Rund um den Finanzplatz/Henninger Turm/Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop is that you really can't tell what will happen. Despite the tweaking, the parcours does remain the same in terms of its essential components - Großer Feldberg, Ruppertshain, multiple Mammolshain climbs and the flat finishing circuits. The list of winners is really varied in style, from sprinters like Zabel and Degenkolb to GT winners like Ullrich and Garzelli. The last 5 races have been won in a variety of styles too - Kroon in 2008 outsprinted Rebellin from a group of 9, before being beaten in a two-up sprint by Wegmann in 2009; Wegmann repeated with a long-range sprint in a group of 20 in 2010, before Degenkolb headed an almost bunch sprint (with about 70) in 2011; yet last year Moreno Moser soloed in after attacking his three breakmates with a kilometre to go after he, Nerz and Firsanov bridged across to Martin, who tried to solo in from 45km. It's always tough to tell what kind of classics man this suits, as it's too hilly for many specialists in flatter classics, but the long run-in can bring versatile sprinters back into play (Zabel is a multi-time winner), and the short but steep nature of the Mammolshain followed by the need for the groups that get away to work together means groups often need powerful rouleurs as well as puncheurs in order to make the moves count.

Last year's top 10:
1 Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 4'54'15
2 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale +5
3 Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Rusvelo +st
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step +st
5 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol +23
6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team +23
7 John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano +23
8 Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp +23
9 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale +23
10 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis +23

The startlist is interesting, with 8 World Tour teams, 7 Pro Conti teams, 7 German Continental teams and a German national team made up of a mixture of development guys and World Tour riders.

The best thing? If this is anything like years gone by you're going to be able to see each and every minute of this played out on local TV, as we had over 4 hours of live coverage the last two years.
 
Defending champion Moreno Moser is sadly not starting, and Cannondale send what appears on the face of things to be an odds'n'sods team, but then again I thought that of last year's lineup and they did a 1-2. Agostini, Canuti, Haedo, Koch, Masuda, Paterski, Juraj Sagan and Wurf are their men. Lotto bring Greipel to lead the sprint charge as he becomes more versatile, however the tougher route this year may not suit him. Bart de Clercq leads the second prong in the attack. OPQS have what ought to be considered a favourite in Gianni Meersman especially on current form, but Tony Martin could mimic last year's showing, and Peter Velits is also a threat because he could get away on short steep stuff and has shown the time trial ability to make it stick, and has the ability to sprint from a small group too. Saxo Bank are nominally led by Daniele Bennati but look out for Kroon - he's won here twice and podiumed on other occasions too. Vacansoleil have one of the most stacked teams in the race; Thomas de Gendt, Sergey Lagutin, Marco Marcato and Johnny Hoogerland all have the palmarès and the capabilities to do something here, and the advantage of numbers could be theirs. Ag2r have options with Bouet, Kadri and Chainel. Katyusha have a team that really ought to be competitive too, as Aleksandr Kolobnev ought to be the kind of guy this race suits, but in addition to him they have Rüdiger Selig for a sprint from a reduced bunch, and the in-form Simon Spilak to make things hurt on the Mammolshain if this is a fast edition. Finally, Argos, who have Degenkolb, Janse van Rensburg and Geschke to cover most eventualities.

Among the second tier teams, IAM produce another potential favourite in Heinrich Haussler, who at his best would really be a major challenger on this course. MTN have Reimer, Stauff and Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek, so looks like they're banking on a sprint. NetApp stick mostly to the NetApp side of the team, but Barta, Huzarski and König are all capable of getting into the right moves. Laurens de Vreese is capable for Topsport Vlaanderen while if it goes to a sprint Accent have the very experienced and capable Stefan van Dijk. Crelan can offer Reinier Honig and Sébastien Delfosse, while Rusvelo have a pretty useful team that of course placed Sergey Firsanov on the podium last year, the best-placed finisher from last year's race on the startlist.

I'll only mention a couple of names from the Continental squads, which will mostly produce breakaway artists, however Grischa Janorschke for Nutrixxion is a useful sprinter from a reduced group, Timo Thömel for NSP-Ghost is one of the most successful riders in terms of wins this season (and Markus Fothen also starts for them), and Team Stölting has a couple of recognisable names - former break specialist Björn Schröder and experienced Aussie Luke Roberts. Finally, the national team, which this year features 7 World Tour riders, with only cyclocross specialist Christoph Pfingsten the odd one out. It's a strong team with contenders for all eventualities, with Danilo Hondo (Radioshack), André Schulze and Steffen Radochla (both Euskaltel) to handle sprinting, Christian Knees (Sky) and Jens Voigt (Radioshack) to put down the power, and Björn Thurau (Europcar) and double winner Fabian Wegmann (Garmin) for the hills.
 
Mar 17, 2012
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Thanks Libertine, great opening post :)

Just one thing, no Braunkohle/Neuseenclassics this year, I read somewhere.. :(

Edit: Ah, and Moser starts, he annonced in last second.
 
Usually a great race indeed.

Come on Thomel, show them you can play with the "bigger" guys.

Thurau looked in great form in Turkey, perhaps he can go long distance together with Voss.

But Greipel will be very hard to beat, his climbing skills seems even better this year.
 
Aug 3, 2009
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Very nice opening, sets the standard high for all races to follow

Looking forward to the race, but alas will not be able to watch live as i will be abroad :(
 
Mar 17, 2012
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jens_attacks said:
hopefully the same beautiful live broadcast
tony really went ballistic last year i remember,great race
Yes, German regional broadcaster HR shows it from 13.00 CET, so hours of live coverage.

If you have it on livestream, have fun, and, most of all: be glad you don´t understand the commentator/s. They normally have no clue about cycling, and if you have listened to them for few hours, you (being German) more and more, as time passes, feel forced to throw a stone into your TV.

But I don´t want to complain.

Start list this year looks great, the best in a few years, but it´s possible till the last moment that some big names nevertheless decided to not travel to Frankfurt, and in the race itself, big name doesn´t mean big motivation here.
The DNF numbers are always very, very high in Frankfurt.

Edit: It´s a shame Sinkewitz hasn´t been invited to German National team, which, ofc, was clear again. He´d have won it tomorrow, not a slight doubt about that.
 
RHRH19861986 said:
Yes, German regional broadcaster HR shows it from 13.00 CET, so hours of live coverage.

If you have it on livestream, have fun, and, most of all: be glad you don´t understand the commentator/s. They normally have no clue about cycling, and if you have listened to them for few hours, you (being German) more and more, as time passes, feel forced to throw a stone into your TV.

But I don´t want to complain.

Start list this year looks great, the best in a few years, but it´s possible till the last moment that some big names nevertheless decided to not travel to Frankfurt, and in the race itself, big name doesn´t mean big motivation here.
The DNF numbers are always very, very high in Frankfurt.

Edit: It´s a shame Sinkewitz hasn´t been invited to German National team, which, ofc, was clear again. He´d have won it tomorrow, not a slight doubt about that.
The DNF numbers are often exaggerated because of the very short finishing circuit, so any groups more than a handful of minutes behind the head of the race get pulled, so when you get an aggressively raced edition like 2010 or 2012 anybody outside the top 30 or so ends up being taken out at the start of the closing circuit.

The commentators may not be the most knowledgable out there (lol) but then again they do have four times as much time to fill as many commentators, and it's only once a year so I don't find it too bad to be honest.

And if we're lucky (unlikely I know) we'll get to see Sinky on the TV coverage like in 2010, when he hadn't got a team so he rode the whole route ahead of the bunch for the TV cameras, giving pieces to camera as he went along to explain the obstacles on the route and so on. That was a cool feature.
 
Timo Thömel could indeed be dangerous here. He won the U23 event back in 2010!

With the absence of Silvio Herklotz, I had hoped to see Jan Dieteren in a free role – However, it seems he is off the start-list now as well.
 
Jakob747 said:
Timo Thömel could indeed be dangerous here. He won the U23 event back in 2010!

With the absence of Silvio Herklotz, I had hoped to see Jan Dieteren in a free role – However, it seems he is off the start-list now as well.
I was hoping that Herklotz and Sutterlin would participate aswell :(
 
Jakob747 said:
With the absence of Silvio Herklotz, I had hoped to see Jan Dieteren in a free role – However, it seems he is off the start-list now as well.
both of them are doing the U23 race in the morning, Team Stölting does not want to wear them out before the Bayern Rundfahrt and the races in Poland. They think the 140km race is better for them at the moment.

Jasha Sütterlin is in France though, for the Tour de Bretagne, he was third in today's timetrial
 
Libertine Seguros said:
And if we're lucky (unlikely I know) we'll get to see Sinky on the TV coverage like in 2010, when he hadn't got a team so he rode the whole route ahead of the bunch for the TV cameras, giving pieces to camera as he went along to explain the obstacles on the route and so on. That was a cool feature.
it's very unlikely I think. The HR is very eager to promote the race by giving cycling in germany a new, clean image. They started a campaign with Tony Martin and John Degenkolb and so on. Sinkewitz is propably not the most suitable person so support such a campaign, his image in Germany is still very bad. (I'm just talking about their image btw, everything else can be discussed in the clinic I think)
 
search said:
both of them are doing the U23 race in the morning, Team Stölting does not want to wear them out before the Bayern Rundfahrt and the races in Poland. They think the 140km race is better for them at the moment.
Cool. Thanks for the information! I haven’t seen the U23 start-list. :)

Team Stölting will bring Phil Bauhaus and Arne Egner as well? Not to forget powerhouse – Nils Politt?
 
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