German Winner for German WorldTour One Day Classic

Sun 25 Aug 2013

Although a number of outcomes were possible at Germany’s only WorldTour event, a sprint finish was always the most likely conclusion in Hamburg. John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) scored big on home soil, timing his sprint perfectly to overtake compatriot André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) ahead of the line. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) rounded out the podium.

“In the final, if it was a sprint, our plan was that Daryl [Impey] and Gossy [Matt Goss] would talk to each other to decide who was feeling better for the finish,” explained Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “They decided that Gossy was the man for the sprint today. Daryl did a really great lead-out as usual but at one moment Gossy lost Daryl’s wheel. He couldn’t make up the places, so we had no result in the end.”

“It’s a little disappointing,” admitted Lapage. “The guys did a really good job up until that point, and they didn’t have anything to show for it.”

An escape group of four riders slipped away from the bunch shortly after the official start was given. Jonas Jörgensen (Saxo-Tinkoff), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Michael Schwarzmann (Netapp-Endura) and Julian Kern (Ag2r-La Mondiale) dutifully cooperated to extend their advantage beyond the eight minute mark.

“We didn’t worry about the early breakaway,” said Lapage. “We didn’t need to put anyone in it except if it became a big, big group. When the first attacks went, we saw that only four riders went up the road. This was not a problem for us. None of the sprint teams had a rider in the move, so this was especially good for us. Lotto, Argos, BMC and did the majority of the chase work.”

As the peloton tackled the second ascent of the Waseberg, the four leaders were within sight. Jens Keukeleire was one of seven riders to bridge across, nearly tripling the size of the breakaway and allowing teams with an interest in the sprint representation in the break.

“Our plan was to make the race hard when we came to the hilly section,” Lapage noted. “Eleven riders were away the second time up the Waseberg, and we had Jens there.  Daryl Impey was in a group of chasers before Lotto and BMC brought everything back together.”

The third time up the Waseberg, Ian Stannard (Team Sky), Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin), Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) escaped the strong-hold of the bunch. Michael Albasini made  a serious bid to bridge across to the quartet before the race came back together 8km from the finish.

“The team did a really good job in the hilly section,” said Lapage. “Hepburn, Lancaster and Mouris did their work in putting the guys in a good position for each start of the Waseberg. After four times up the Waseberg, we knew it would be a sprint. That’s when the decision was taken to ride for Gossy.”

As the sprint trains battled for control at the head of affairs, Impey patiently waited for the right moment to move Goss up the right side of the road. Initially, it looked as if the duo were moving up at in just enough time to be perfectly positioned for the sprint; however, when Impey moved left to advance their position, Goss inadvertently gave up the wheel. 

Degenkolb took advantage of his team’s well-drilled sprint train to deliver the first German victory at the Vattenfall Cyclassics since Erik Zabel’s 2001 victory. Goss was the best-placed rider for ORICA-GreenEDGE in 27th place.