Wegmann repeats Frankfurt victory on German Labor Day
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wegmann repeats Frankfurt victory on German Labor Day

by Bjorn Haake at 11:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results

Fabian Wegmann sprinted to victory out of a 25-man group, ahead of Landbouwkrediet duo Geert Verheyen and Bert Scheirlinckx. Wegmann's Milram team closed the gap to several dangerous moves, bringing the race to an end in a group sprint near the old opera in the heart of Frankfurt.

HTC Columbia was eliminated early, as its main rider for a successful breakaway, Tony Martin, crashed out of the front group after about 110km. The main peloton, including sprint favorite Andre Greipel, was more than five minutes behind after the halfway point and was taken out of the race before the final three local laps.

Wegmann is more known for going  solo or in very small groups, so winning this way was a surprise to some. "Well, it wasn't a real bunch sprint, but I do have some speed at the end of a race," Wegmann insisted. He also admitted that he pokered in the end. "I waited very long and didn't participate in the jumping." He only wanted to rest as much as possible. "I knew I had to put everything on the sprint."

He could afford it because he had great team support in the end.  "Christian Knees and Niki Terpstra were unbelievable. Niki rode a lot from the front," Wegmann said.

The  runner-ups were in disagreement whether this was a good result for their Landbouwkrediet team or not. Second-placed Verheyen did not think he could have done anything else. "In the last corner, I was on the wheel of Wegmann, but he was so fast I could not pass him."

Scheirlinckx on the other hand was quite clear in his opinion. "We lost first place for sure today. I asked Geert to launch the sprint for me, but in the corner I lost his wheel and I had to come back from too far."

The Landbouwkrediet riders were in agreement that the old course was harder. "But it is always difficult to control the local laps," Verheyen said. "Just ask Vacansoleil, they had four or five guys in the group, including good sprinters, and they didn't even make the podium."

Wegmann spoke for many when he described the location of the new finish. "There were so many spectators, it doubles your motivation." Wegmann also knew where to win the race, as there was a chicane with about 300 meters to go. "I knew that I would have to be in the front from there on, since only one rider can ride the optimal line."

Those who lost out were unhappier about the tricky combination close to the finish. Nick Nuyens and Jérôme Coppel expressed their sentiments to Velonation. "The whole course is on such great streets, so it is a pity that the end in the inner city is so dangerous," Coppel said.

He was one of the big animators today, first joining Matteo Carrara and Evgeni Petrov, then trying again when the three local laps were reached.

Then Coppel's Saur Sojasun teammate Julien Simon went and had as much as ten seconds, but was caught in the final lap.  "Our team did  a great race," a tired looking Coppel said. Nuyens was just happy it didn't rain. "If the road was wet there could have been a crash on that tricky section with 300m to go," the Belgian said.

For Wegmann, the next goal is the Giro d'Italia, which starts in one week's time. "This will be my second participation, after 2004 when I won the green jersey [best climber - ed.]. Today's win will motivate me even more."

Start under cloudy skies

At the sign-in it was still raining, but when the riders set off at 11:45 it was dry. The day continued to be a mix like that.  The smaller teams immediately were interested in getting a group going and Dirk Müller (Nutrixxion), Ralf Matzka (Heizomat), Frank Wagner (Seven Stones), Timon Seubert (NetApp), Johannes Kahra (LKT Brandenburg) and Josef Benetseder (Vorarlberg-Corratec) rode away after ten kilometers.

Benetseder, Wagner and Matzka crashed and slid over the wet pavement, but all three continued without problems.  After 40km the gap was 3'10. Müller was the most  aggressive and won several mountain and  sprint classifications.

The first time up the Ruppertshainer Berg, the front group was only a good minute ahead and Milram was doing the pace in the main peloton. Müller still won the Eppstein climb, then he became the final rider from the break to be caught.

After 80km, a new group with several big names formed. Tony Martin and Matt Goss (HTC Columbia), Paul Voß (Milram), Piet Roiijakkers (Skil Shimano), Tino Meier (LKT Brandenburg), Sergej Fuchs (Nutrixxion), Alex Gottfried (NetApp) and  Bram Tankink (Rabobank) gained a maximum of about a minute.

The first time up the 7.5% Mammolshainer Berg the field had closed the gap to 20 seconds, with several counter attacks coming in the descent. A larger group built up, in which Tony Martin was present until a crash in a left hand bend stopped the efforts of the local boy.

After a bike change he fought back to the peloton, but in the front the race was on and Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil) took off at km 118, quickly gaining a minute on a group of around 20 riders.  With 53km left, Carrara was joined by Evgeni Petrov (Katusha).

The duo was two and a half minutes ahead of a 25-rider group including defending champion  Wegmann, with the peloton  already four minutes behind. The second time up the Mammolshainer Berg (with 38km to go), the gap between the two leaders and the 25 chasers was still around  a minute. The chase group was reduced in half due to the accelerations by riders like Nick Nuyens and Simon Geschke.

Jerome Coppel left the chase group and time trialed  up to Carrara and Petrov. The three looked like with a good chance, but Milram (for Wegmann) and Katusha (for Robbie McEwen) kept the lid on  efforts. The group was caught with some 15km to go and a final effort by Julien Simon was also eliminated.

2010 Grand Prix Frankfurt (Eschborn-Frankfurt) results:
1 Fabian Wegmann (Milram)
2 Geert Verheyen (Landbouwkrediet)
3 Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkrediet)
4 Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil)
5 Luca Mazzanti (Katusha)


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