Pascal Ackermann took a proud home victory in German national colours at the 2019 Eschborn-Frankfurt.
The sprinters’ one-day race was dominated by national stars, with Bora-Hansgrohe controlling the race throughout the day to set up Ackermann for victory.
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Fellow German John Degenkolb fought hard for second place, while Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) was denied a fifth consecutive win and had to settle for third.
How it happened
The 2019 edition of the one-day race covered 187.5km around the city of Frankfurt, taking in eight short and brutal climbs with more than 3,200 meters of elevation in total.
Despite the challenging climbs scattered along the road the race is traditionally the sprinters’ territory, with Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) taking victory in the last four editions.
The most significant climb of the race was the Mammolshain – 2.3km at 8.2% – which appeared three times, the last appearance coming 40km from the line.
A seven-rider breakaway went clear in the early stages, consisting of Casper Pedersen (Sunweb), Sebastian Schönberger (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM) , Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Dimitri Peyskens (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert), Mathias Van Gompel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Artyom Zakharov (Astana).
That front group spent half the day out front before accelerations from the peloton inside 100km changed up the composition of the break, with riders bridging across and some being dropped.
Kristian Sbaragli (Israel Cycling Academy) and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida) were able to bridge across, along with Davide Ballerini (Astana), Geoffrey Soupe (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) and François Birdard (Ag2r La Mondiale), with Shalunov and Peyskens the only riders from the original escape to hold on with 50km to race.
Inside 20km the gap breakaway’s advantage dropped down to 15 seconds, but the group combined brilliantly to hold off the inevitable catch.
As the escapees started the final local lap with 6.5km to race, they held a slim advantage over the peloton but were unwilling to concede defeat.
The chasers finally caught the front of the race inside the final 5km, with Bora-Hansgrohe drilling on the front for German national champion Pascal Ackermann.
Trek-Segafredo moved to the front for John Degenkolb with 1.2km left to race, with the home favourite well positioned in the final.
Kristoff was also present at the front but with no team-mates for support and Ackerman’s last lead-out man peeled off, he found himself in the wind too early.
Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) opened an early sprint but rapidly faded 200m from the line as Ackermann forced his way past against the barrier and broke free.
Degenkolb opened his sprint but was unable to pass his compatriot Ackerrmann and had to settle for second, with Kristoff taking third.
Eschborn-Frankfurt 2019: Eschborn to Frankfurt (187.5km)
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 4-23-36
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) (UAE Team Emirates)
4. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
5. Huge Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
7. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Neri-Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM
8. Lawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
9. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida, all at same time