Italian national champion Elia Viviani (Quick-Step) took his second consecutive victory at the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg, beating Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) to the line in a bunch finish.
Viviani took advantage of Démare’s early launch, jumping on to the wheel of the Frenchman on the slight left curve of the finishing 100 metres.
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As the Frenchman tired towards the line, the defending champion was able to hold his power to go clear across the line and raise his arms in victory.
The other sprinters were never really close to competing, with Kristoff fighting for third behind the leading pair with new European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), who had to settle for fifth place as John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) pipped him late to the line.
World champion Peter Sagan completed the 216.4km German WorldTour race, but could only manage 10th place with a the Vuelta a España just six days away.
The race had been animated by a breakaway group that got away early, with Ivan Cortina (Bahrain Merida), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Winner Anacona (Movistar), Kamil Gradek (CCC Sprandi) and Evgeny Shaluna (Gazprom-RusVelo) going clear until 18km to go.
There were late attacks on the final climb of what was a predominantly flat final circuit, but the sprinters’ teams had enough control that it safely came back together for a sprint finish, setting Viviani up for his second victory in two years.
Viviani will now head to to the Vuelta on Saturday, where he’ll hope to continue the fine form that saw him claim four stage victories at the Giro d’Italia in May.
EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg 2018 (216.4km)
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors, in 4-46-02
2 Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
4 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
5 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott, all same time
6 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 1s
7 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac
8 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
9 Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, all same time