By Bjorn Haake
The winner of the 2008 German Championships will definitely have earned the jersey. The course is not hard in terms of climbing - the highest point is only 90 vertical metres compared to the start – but the course is a typical city course and several dividers, roundabouts and sharp turns will make potential breakaways possible. Some descents also suffer from lack of good pavement, adding to a potential crash fest, especially on a rainy day.
With 19 kilometres, laps are rather long. The men will have to complete the course 11 times, for a total of 210 kilometres. The women will do six laps, yielding 114 kilometres. The race starts out flat, but with a few sharp turns. A short uphill drag is followed by a descent on the Bruchstrasse, with the name probably given by the many potholes, cobble stones and otherwise not very smooth asphalt.
Midway through comes the major climb of the day. It drags on for about one kilometre, with the false flat at the top and possible head winds rushing over the farm fields from the riders' left not necessarily helping. The following kilometres through a residential area is at time technical, but mostly it is downhill, so the riders can recover a bit. The gradual descent extends almost all the way to the finish line, but a U-turn about half a kilometre from the finish will require the riders' concentration and will surely add an interesting aspect in case of a potential field sprint.
Wegmann able to defend?
Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner is looking to defend his 2007 title, and if only so his girlfriend can keep recognising him in the peloton! The route may be a bit too flat for his liking, but the punchy rider is a good descender, too. Gerolsteiner is not putting all its eggs in one basket and has a total of 15 (!) riders on the start line. The Fothen brothers Markus and Thomas, as well as Stefan Schumacher and Johannes Fröhlinger could be the other men in potential breakaways, while Heinrich Haussler and Robert Förster will bide their time for a potential sprint.
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