Moreno Moser escapes to win the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Moreno Moser escapes to win the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt

by Ben Atkins at 11:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Prodigious Italian neo-pro uses Liquigas-Cannondale’s numerical advantage after Tony Martin tries to go solo

moreno moserMoreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale) took the second victory of his first full pro season, as he escaped a four-man breakaway group in the final kilometre of the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt. The 21-year-old Italian, who is the nephew of the legendary Francesco Moser, was one of two Liquigas-Cannondale riders in the break - along with German Dominique Nerz - having bridged across to a solo attack from Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) with Sergey Firsanov (RusVelo) in the last 30km of the 200km race.

Using the numerical superiority of the Italian team, Moser jumped away in the final kilometre and, with Martin exhausted and Nerz marking, Firsanov was unable to close the gap. Having had an easy end to his race, Nerz made the sprint for second place a formality, to take a one-two for Liquigas-Cannondalefive seconds later, with Firsanov beating Martin to third.

“I found myself in the ideal situation to try the move that I do best,” said Moser, referring to his final kilometre attack, “and the good form I’ve developed this spring enabled me to do it successfully.

“Along with Nerz we had a double opportunity to win,” he explained, “but at the same time we couldn’t let anyone catch us out. We made the right choice: one went on the attack while the other stayed on the wheel and tried to win the sprint. When I kicked I immediately realised that none of my opponents had chased me. This gave me the boost and drive to go for it and not give up.

“I am very, very happy,” he added. “I couldn't ask for a better start to the season - and my career in the pros - than this.”

The first half of the race was characterised by a break from Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha), Christoph Pfingsten (Germany), Reto Hollenstein (NetApp), Sander Armee (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Sven Forberger (Team NSP-Ghost) and Björn Schröder (Raiko Stölting), who escaped on the Feldberg, the first - and biggest - climb of the day.

With numerous attacks from the peloton in the second half of the race however, the group was caught by a large counterattack with just over 70km to go. The race was soon all together again though, with the final members of the group brought back with 45km to go.

It was the three climbs of the Mammolshainer that were to prove decisive, with Martin escaping on the second, almost as soon as the previous attack had been neutralised. The German, in his first race since being hit by a car in training three weeks before, managed to open up a lead of 30 seconds over a much depleted peloton. The third and final time up the Mammolshainer saw Moser, Nerz and Firsanov escape behind him however, and joined him with 29km to go.

Despite a concerted chase from Argos-Shimano and NetApp, the four-rider group managed to increase its advantage on the way around the financial centre of Frankfurt.  With ten kilometres to go, the gap was up to 42 seconds, and was still 35 seconds as the leaders took the bell with one 3.8km lap of the city streets to go.

The gap only began to close as the group's cooperation ended in the final kilometre, and André Greipel - riding for the German National Team - won the sprint for fifth place 23 seconds behind.

A break on the first climb but an aggressive peloton means it doesn’t get far

The break of Kuchynski, Pfingsten, Hollenstein, Armee, Forberger and Schröder went away almost as soon as the climb to Feldberg had begun, and looked like it was set to build a big lead. Armee, who had been aggressive in the middle of the previous month’s Flèche Wallonne, attacked over the top to take maximum points for the climb after 50km. The peloton was only 45 seconds behind at this point, but the gap grew to more than three minutes on the steady descent that followed.

On a small climb after 73km a counter group broke free, including Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas-Cannondale) and two-time winner Fabian Wegmann (Garmin-Barracuda), but the break never got organised properly and was quickly closed down. Garmin-Barracuda continued to keep the pressure on at the front of the peloton however, leading the way for the kilometres that followed.

Martin was also constantly near the front, testing his legs on the small climbs that peppered this part of the course.

There were a number of attempted counterattacks after 85km, but there were too many fresh legs in the peloton able to get across, and the groups that formed were always too big to escape. Martin was again looking strong, briefly making it off the front, but the net effect of all the activity was to close the gap to the leaders to just 1’30” after 90km.

Julian Hellman (Eddy Merckx-Indeland) escaped in amongst the attacks, and set off in pursuit, as the field relaxed and the gap to the leaders began to grow again. Schröder had been dropped by his five companions however, and was steadily drifting backwards.

On the steep climb of the Mammolshainer berg - for the first of three times - with 94km to go, Pfingstein forged ahead. Kuchynski and Armee were close behind, but the other two were struggling to keep up. Hollenstein managed to rejoin on the decsent, but Forberger did not, leaving just four up front.

Martin forced himself off the front of the peloton as he crested the top of the climb, but was soon pulled back by a sizeable group, which caught up with Hellman. There were around 15 riders with Martin, but the peloton quickly closed things down once more.

The relentless counterattacking at the front of the peloton finally forced a chase group clear; Vanotti and Maarten de Jonge (Raiko Stölting) broke away, and were quickly joined by Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun) and Vladimir Gusev (Katusha).

Paul Voss (Germany), Johannes Fröhlinger and Tom Dumoulin (both Argos-Shimano), Marcello Pavarin (Vacansoleil-DCM), Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun), Pieter Serry (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Cesare Benedetti (NetApp), Alexander Gottfried (Nutrixxion-Abus) and Sebastien Rosseler (Garmin-Barracuda) made it across to make a large group and, with 71km to go made contact with the leaders. The peloton was less than a minute behind however, now led by Omega Pharma-Quick Step, who had missed the move.

Cofidis joined Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the front of the peloton and, despite the best efforts of Gusev and Hollenstein, the gap was closing steadily.

With such a large group there were too many passengers, so Vanotti and Mangel escaped the others as the peloton was gaining with 55km to go. They were joined by Fröhlinger, Gusev, de Jonge, Gottfried, Serry and Benedetti and, with a more manageable sized group, began to work together better.

With 50km to go, the peloton was just 17 seconds behind however, and had the group in sight whenever the roads straightened.

Tony Martin gets away and the patched-up Panzerwagen is going like a train

With 47km to go, all but Vanotti, Mangel and Gusev were swept up, and those three were reined in two kilometres later at the foot of the Mammolshainer. Martin jumped clear on the steep slopes once again, taking Rob Ruijgh (Vacansoleil-DCM) with him; the Dutchman was unable to hold the pace on the false-flat that followed though, and the World time trial champion was away.

The peloton was in pursuit, led by Argos-Shimano, as the road descended, but Martin had a lead of 15 seconds and was holding the Dutch team at bay. It had been reduced to no more than 30 riders by the steepness of the climb, and most of the sprinters had been left behind, but 2011 winner John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and André Greipel (Germany) were still there.

As Martin approached the Mammolshainer, for the third and last time, he had managed to open up his lead to 30 seconds over the first part of the peloton. The rest of the bunch - including most of Martin’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, was another minute further back.

The German ‘Panzerwagen’ was still looking strong as he tackled the steep slopes and, over the top with 32km to go, he was maintaining his 30-second lead. The climb briefly disrupted the Argos-Shimano chase, but Moser, Nerz and Firsanov jumped away and made their way across to Martin with 29km to go.

The group of four began to work well together and, as they traversed the flat roads towards Frankfurt, they were holding the peloton at bay; with 20km to go they still led by 30 seconds.

Team NetApp was the one chasing now, with Argos-Shimano waiting behind, but the four riders up ahead had managed to open their advantage to 48 seconds with 17km to go.

Into the final ten kilometres, as they traversed the wide city streets of Frankfurt, the quartet was still 42 seconds clear, but this was gradually coming down. With 8.2km to go, as they crossed the finish line, with just two short loops of the city remaining, it was 35 seconds as Argos-Shimano was joined by Katusha at the front of the peloton.

Nerz’ and Moreno’s Liquigas-Cannondale team was lurking behind the first few working riders however, making life difficult for the chase, and allowing the four up front to pull out another two seconds as they entered the final five kilometres. Barring disaster, it now looked certain that the result would be decided between these four.

Taking the bell with 3.8km to go the gap was still 35 seconds, and there was just one Argos-Shimano rider left at the front, with three Liquigas-Cannondale riders on his wheel.

The Liquigas-Cannondale duo up front were now refusing to take some of their turns in the front group, despite protestations from Firsanov. The Italian team was holding all the cards at this point and, with less than a kilometre to go, Moser jumped away.

Firsanov made a brief effort to chase the Italian down, but Martin was too tired to help, and the presence of Nerz put both riders off. Moser had immediately opened up a huge gap over the other three and took his time to celebrate his second victory of his first full professional season.

Nerz, who was the freshest of the three, easily took the sprint for second, with Firsanov beating an exhausted Martin to the final step of the podium. 23 seconds later, Greipel won the sprint for fifth.

Result Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt
1. Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
2. Dominique Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale @ 5s
3. Sergey Firsanov (Rus) RusVelo
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol @ 23s
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano
8. Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp
9. Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
10. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis


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