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Jens Voigt's final pro bike – complete with 'shut up legs' mantra
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Hello and welcome to CN's live coverage from Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt.
We've seen roughly 80kms of very fast racing so far today with break after break trying to get clear.
We've finally got some stability in the race with a group up the road. We'll bring you their names in just a minute.
We currently have 123 kms of racing left. We're over the first major climb of the day with two smaller climbs still to come.
So in the break we have Pieter Serry (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Hubert Dupont (Ag2r), Tom Jelte Slagter (Rabobank), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil), Carlos Alberto Betancurt (Aqua & Sapone) und Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and they have a lead of 1.14
But the gap is coming down. It's at just 30 seconds now.
Four riders with small lead in Romandie, including Ag2r's CX & mountain specialist John Gadret and Kruiswijk, a Rabo "policeman" for Freire
@inrng Sun, 1st May 2011 12:25:21
The leaders are starting to split up with Leopard Trek and HTC-Highroad both on the front doing all the work.
Rabobank has a man in the break so they dont have to do any work at the moment. That's a perfect situation for them.
They'll try and stay out of trouble and should it all come back together for a sprint they'll try and put Matthews and Bos in the best possible positions.
Meanwhile Ben Swift has won the final stage in Romandie ahead of Freire and Vigano. That's another great result for the young Sky rider.
The break don't have a chance, not with Leopard Trek putting everyone on the front.
Over to Susan for a few minutes..
Susan here, giving the new live report system a try-out.
It's a gorgeous day in Germany today, with lots of sunshine and moderate spring temperatures.
The break is over. None other than Jens Voight led the peloton past the group that had led for so long.
We are halfway through the race now. There arestill a few more climbs to go. Will it be enough to dump the sprinters, specifically Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad?
Lunch time! The riders pass through the feed zone and grab something to eat and drink. Guten Appetit!
Hoogerland is not ready to give up. He attacks again.
The field charges up the Mammolshein -- a short but steep climb, which they will face again.
Hoogerland had been caught before the climb, by the way.
That climb wasn't enough to split the field. A few riders have a little lead -- let's see if it turns into anything.
There is a German national team in the race today, and you have probably heard of at least some of its riders: Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Danilo Hondo (Lampre), Gerald Ciolek (Quick Step) and Dominik Nerz (Liquigas).
Here are some unusual spectators: the giraffes at the Opel Zoo take a look at those fellows on two wheels.
Christian Prudhomme of the Tour de France is visiting today's race. We have heard rumours that Tour organiser ASO wants to take over this race.
So all back together and less than 90 kms of racing.
And just like the first hour of racing we're seeing lots of moves go off the front but nothing sticking.
Skil-Shimano's Van Hummel wins in Turkey. One better than yesterday when he was second.
@Procycling_mag Sun, 1st May 2011 13:34:24
Whew... Well. Rode the 1st 2 hrs on the front w/amael and micki. Hit the 1st climb and Lampre started to pull. Feeling the wk n the crash...
@taylorphinney Sun, 1st May 2011 13:33:29
Vacan are being particularly aggressive but each time they try and make a move Leopard Trek are on their heels and bring everything back together.
No sign of Cavendish in the last few minutes but the bunch are on the second major climb of the day.
The bunch are all strung out, so the pace is high but there's simply no real opportunity to get away at the moment.
Long, wide road, even on the climbs just aren't giving the breaks much chance
This is of course a big race for Leopard Trek who have Fabian Wegmann in their ranks. He won the race last year.
Lebon is the only rider to force a small split but behind him it's all splitting up with around 40 riders left in the main bunch.
Le Bon has a long downhill section on which he can try and stretch out his advantage and he's taking plenty of risks
The road rising up again along this rolling terrain and we'll see what Le Bon is made of.
he keeps looking back but the gap is going out, it's at 25 seconds but with over 70km of racing I'm sure he'd like a few more riders to come across.
A small chase group have jumped from what's left of the main field but they've only got a handful of seconds.
That small group has been brought back and Le Bon is the only rider out front. He's still working hard to extend his lead but it's not above 30 seconds.
A small climb for Le Bon to take on and he's out of the saddle trying everything but it's not going to stick. If the bunch are going full gas or there's a counter attack he'll be brought back. The gap is 15 seconds.
Le Bon makes it over the climb just ahead of the bunch, which is grown to maybe 60 or 70 riders.
Le Bon takes a look at the board and sees that he's still got a few seconds - 15 in fact - but he look s done.
And a group of around 6 riders catch him. Le Bon sits on the back.
And Fabian Wegmann has made the split. Nice move from the German.
It could be all over for Cavendish now. Dropped on that last climb
A strong group but they've already split with Hoogerland and Proni attacking and leading the race.
Voigt, Elminger and Burghardt also make the lead group. this could stick.
Hoogerland drops back to talk to Voigt who is refusing to do any work. Wegmann no longer with this group for some reason.
If you're wondering why Burgy is in that what jersey, he's riding for the German nation team today along with hondo and ciolek
As the riders hit the last feed of the day
And the gap is up to 55 seconds.
So a group of around 18 riders in the lead with a gap of just under a minute. They're just about to go over the final climb of the day.
And there's an attack from one of the riders in the break. It's Hoogerland.
Martens is chasing for Rabobank but Hoogerland is a gap, it's growing too.
Hoogerland isn't wait for anyone to come across and he's really going for it? Has he gone from too far out?
Wegmann back in the break now is giving it everything to get across.
Wegmann looks in a bad way as Hoogerland, out of the saddle, keeps turning the gears smoothly. It look like he's got a gap with the lone Rabobank rider chasing.
This is impressive from Wegmann he's leading the entire peloton, at least what's left of it and he's breaking up the entire field on his own.
Martens looks like he's about about catch Hoogerland
And now we have two leaders.
And Wegmann has brought back most the leaders. Voigt sat up and is now on the front for Leopard. They're giving it everything today.
Matthews is still here, now that's interesting and I think that's Degenkolb on his wheel.
Martens and Hoogerland working well together.
Hondo is also in the main group, in that German national team. He could be a huge danger at the finish. Not sure if Ciolek has made it.
Just ten seconds between the two leaders and the chasers.
And it's over for Hoogerland and Martens. Immediately we have an attack from Matthews but that's been brought back too.
Just over 20 to go and Slagter is the lone leader with the bunch around 5 seconds backs. The bunch has picked up a number of riders, so it around 50-strong.
Matthews just at the back of the field stretching his legs
An attack from Leopard Trek but it's quickly brought back.
Albasini and a few other HTC riders move up to the front for Degenkolb.
Burghardt on the front for Hondo
schafer who also attacked is about to be caught.
12 to go and all the sprinters teams have moved to the front.
Belka attacks. He looks good but he's never going to get away from a bunch at this speed. Small gap of around 50 meters so far but that's it.
Vacan and the German national team move up just as Belka is about to be caught.
Wegmann is around 5 riders back. Will be see a move from in the final few kms?
Skil Shimano also moving up the field.
With no Cav here a lot of sprinters will fancy their chances.
Burghardt is forced to chase as a small group of three riders moves clear.
And the BMC rider brings it all back together.
3 to go
Not one team is able to impose itself on the front and this could get messy. 2 to go.
Burgy is there on the front again. Matthews is up there.
almost a big crash
around the final 90 degree turn
Matthews looks blocked in on the right hand side and John Degenkolb get it.
A class sprint finish and Erik Zabel, twice a winner here, is on hand to give him a warm congratulations.
He made it look easy but only really came through in the final 20 meters. The most important 20 meters of the race though.