Kragh-Andersen Wins Eschborn-Frankfurt
Monday’s Eschborn-Frankfurt 2023 was a 203.8-kilometer race on a hilly route in Germany. To animate the race and make the outcome less predictable, race organizers, led by Fabian Wegmann, had modified the route so the riders would have to climb the Feldberg twice instead of once.
Organizers were hoping this change would open the race for non-sprinters as the race has usually been decided in mass sprints. Last year, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the race in a sprint against Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Alexander Kristoff (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux).
With 90 kilometers left of the one-day race a group of eight riders had established a one-minute lead over the chasing main peloton. The group featured Lorenzo Milesi (Team DSM), Max Walscheid (Team Cofidis), Jens Reynders (Israel-PremierTech), Georg Steinhauser (EF Education-EasyPost), Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane), Felipe Orts (Burgos-BH), and Bingoal-WB’s Ceriel Desal.
While climbing the Feldberg for the second time, the front group was caught by the chasing peloton. Riders from the Jayco-Alula team set a fast pace for their sprinter Michael Matthews. Bora-Hansgrohe were monitoring the situation at the front for their defending champion Bennett.
The main peloton was split into two groups, with the chasers one minute behind. Some teams had failed to put their sprinters in the front group, so action was intense to bridge the gap.
With 66 kilometers left a two-man crash occurred in a corner. The crash involved UAE Team Emirates’ Marc Hirschi.
53 kilometers from the finish the gap between the two main groups had been reduced to 18 seconds, partially aided by motorcycles that were driving too close to group 2.
Three kilometers later the two groups had merged into one.
With the final climb of the day – the Mammolshain – coming up, attacks were expected on the uphill stretch where sprinters would be struggling.
On the Mammolshain Martin Marcellusi attacked solo for his Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane team and built a small advantage through hard work.
A small group attempted to break free from the peloton. The group joined Marcellusi and featured Hirschi, Søren Kragh Andersen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Stephen Williams (Israel-PremierTech), Georg Steinhauser (EF Education-EasyPost), Ben Hermans (Israel-PremierTech), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), and the Intermarche-Citcus-Wanty duo Lorenzo Rota and Georg Zimmermann. The group established a 30 second advantage and the riders cooperated well. Later, other riders joined the front group.
The riders were slowly approaching Frankfurt’s financial district. It did, however, remain unknown if the President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde was enjoying the race from the finish line area near the European Central Bank headquarters.
20 kilometers from the finish line, the front group had a 44 second lead over the chasers and a one minute and 11 second lead over the main peloton.
The race concluded with a sprint of a small group and Kragh-Andersen proved the fastest man on the day. Kragh-Andersen finished ahead of Konrad and Alessandro Fedeli (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team).