German cycling receives a boost on Sunday, May 22, with the premiere of the ProRace Berlin. After years of German races being cancelled, the national capital presents a new one-day 1.1 race.
The course is one for the sprinters, so it is only appropriate that the race director is German sprinting legend Erik Zabel. The race has attracted many of the biggest names, with Omega Pharma-Lotto's German sprinter Andre Greipel being the top favourite. Fabian Cancellara is the top name for Leopard Trek, but the team will ride for sprinters Robert Wagner and Stuart O'Grady. Marcus Burghardt is happy to ride in his homeland for BMC Racing Team, while Garmin Cervelo features former German citizen Heinrich Haussler.
The race will take the peloton 182km in and around the city of Berlin. It starts with a 120km loop, starting at the famous Brandenburger Tor. Returning to Berlin, the pros will then take on eight laps of 8.2km circuit throughout the city center. It ends with what the organisers call "the longest final straight of the world" -- 3.3km which are expected to result in a mass sprint finish.
There are six ProTeams in the race: BMC Racing Team, Leopard Trek, Garmin-Cervelo, HTC-Highroad, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Vacansoleil-DMC. CCC Polsat Polkowice, Skil-Shimano and Team NetApp represent the Profesional Continental ranks. The field is rounded out by 11 Continental teams and two national teams.