When the German hopefuls John Degenkolb and Nils Politt crossed the finish line, the decision had already been made at the cycling classic in Frankfurt.
Instead of the expected mass sprint with chances of a home win, escapee Sören Kragh Andersen was able to celebrate. As the strongest professional cyclist in a group of ten, the Danish all-rounder won the Eschborn-Frankfurt day race for the first time on Labor Day. With the longed-for first German victory since 2019, it didn't work out again.
"I had to drive in the red zone for so long and was actually completely dead. You don't get any younger, to be honest. In the end it wasn't quite enough. The group was very strong in front," said veteran Degenkolb on "Hessischer Rundfunk ". The 2011 winner, who has been a constant contender for the podium in recent years, was only a supporting actor this time. "I have to say that I really suffered today. It was a race that was a bit different in character than in recent years."
Germans without a chance
Overall it was a used day for the Germans. Georg Steinhauser (6th) and Georg Zimmermann (7th) made it into the strong escape group, but had nothing to do with victory in the fast-paced finale at the Alte Oper. It was the same for Degenkolb, Politt and the former Eschborn-Frankfurt winner Pascal Ackermann. "In the end it was the perfect race for me with the group. This win means a lot to me," said winner Kragh Andersen, who took his first win since October 2020. He also won two stages of the Tour de France that year.
Behind the Dane, Patrick Konrad from Austria and Alessandro Fedeli from Italy completed the podium. "We can be satisfied with Patrick Konrad's second place. My conclusion is quite okay," said Politt as a teammate at Bora-hansgrohe.
Buchmann crashes and gets out
Before the eyes of Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) and the Hessian Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU), it was the hoped-for cycling festival from a German perspective - but without the desired outcome. Things hadn't gone well during the race: Emanuel Buchmann fell in a narrow passage just under 100 kilometers from the finish. Fourth overall in the 2019 Tour de France ended the race prematurely. Things went better for compatriot Maximilian Walscheid, who belonged to a breakaway group for a long time and diligently collected points for the mountain classification.
The traditional event, once known as "Rund um den Henninger Turm" and later renamed, has been taking place since 1962. The 204-kilometre route led the top drivers around the German champions Politt and Buchmann to the Feldberg twice this year after the start at 12.05 p.m. in Eschborn.
Overall, it was made more difficult for the sprinters on the day of work anyway due to the route being increased to 3000 meters in altitude. The German ex-winner Ackermann had previously prepared for a "definitely tougher" race. "You can't make the race that much harder for the time being," said Jonasrutsch in view of the changed route. That doesn't play into the hands of the sprinters, but rather the "mountain-proof all-rounders".
In Degenkolb, record winner Alexander Kristoff (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018), Ackermann (2019), the Belgian Jasper Philipsen (2021) and last year's winner Sam Bennett, several former title holders competed again. They didn't fight for victory this time, because the breakaway group didn't let them catch anymore.