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Ackermann wins Clásica de Almería

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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Arrival Pascal Ackermann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Celebration Elia Viviani of Italy and Team Cofidis Solutions Credits during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins the Clásica de Almería (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Sprint Arrival Pascal Ackermann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Alexander Kristoff of Norway and UAE Team Emirates Elia Viviani of Italy and Team Cofidis Solutions Credits Luka Mezgec of Slovenia and Team Mitchelton Scott during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

Ackermann beats Kristoff to the line (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Podium Alexander Kristoff of Norway and UAE Team Emirates Pascal Ackermann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Elia Viviani of Italy and Team Cofidis Solutions Credits Celebration during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

The podium men (L-R): Kristoff, Ackermann and Viviani (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Podium Alexander Kristoff of Norway and UAE Team Emirates Pascal Ackermann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Elia Viviani of Italy and Team Cofidis Solutions Credits Celebration during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

The top three on the final podium (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Podium Joan Bou of Spain and Team Fundacion Orbea Winner Mountain Trophy Celebration during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

Joan Bou (Fundación-Euskadi) won the KOM prize (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Podium Daniel Viegas of Portugal and Team KometaXstra Sprint Trophy Celebration Hostess during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

Daniel Viegas (Kometa Xstra) took home the sprint prize (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Start Riders of Team Fundacion Orbea Alexis Gougeard of France and Team AG2R La Mondiale Peloton during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

The peloton await the start of the race (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Peloton Alto de Fuente Marbell 262m Mountains Landscape during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

The peloton wind their way through the Almerían countryside (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Luis Len Sanchez Gil of Spain and Astana Pro Team Omar Fraile of Spain and Astana Pro Team Yevgeniy Gidich of Kazahkstan and Astana Pro Team Peloton during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

Astana lead the peloton (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Marco Mathis of Germany and Team Cofidis Solutions Credits Vegard Stake Laengen of Norway and UAE Team Emirates Valerio Conti of Italy and UAE Team Emirates Christopher Juul Jensen of Denmark and Team Mitchelton Scott Alexander Kristoff of Norway and UAE Team Emirates Daniel Navarro of Spain and Team Israel StartUp Nation Amaury Capiot of Belgium and Team Sport Vlaanderen Baloise Omar Fraile of Spain and Astana Pro Team Peloton Alto de Fuente Marbell 262m Mountains Landscape during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

The riders tackle a hill at the Clásica de Almería (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Peloton Alto de Fuente Marbell 262m Mountains Landscape during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

A long view of the riders en route to the finish (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ROQUETAS DE MAR SPAIN FEBRUARY 16 Christopher Juul Jensen of Denmark and Team Mitchelton Scott Bryan Coquard of France and Team BB Hotels Vital Concept Edoardo Affini of Italy and Team Mitchelton Scott Alexander Edmondson of Australia and Team Mitchelton Scott during the 33rd Clsica de Almera 2020 a 1876km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Roquetas de Mar ClasicaAlmeria on February 16 2020 in Roquetas de Mar Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images

Mitchelton-Scott head up the peloton (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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Alexander Kristoff at Clásica de Almería

Alexander Kristoff at Clásica de Almería (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Clásica de Almería

Clásica de Almería (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bora-Hansgrohe celebrate after winning Clásica de Almería

Bora-Hansgrohe celebrate after winning Clásica de Almería (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) defended his Clásica de Almería title on Sunday, outpacing Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis) in the dash to the line in Roquetas de Mar.
 
The German becomes just the second rider to win the race twice, following in the wheel tracks of Massimo Strazzer, who won in 1997 and 2002. 

Ackermann jumped from the wheel of Viviani's lead-out man Fabio Sabatini to launch his sprint. Kristoff wasn't far behind and looked to be closing in fast, but Ackermann had enough to hold off his competition to secure victory.

"I'm really really happy. I started the season with a victory here last year and I'm really happy again," said Ackermann after the finish.
 
"It's now the third race I'm really going for the victory. Now I've won finally, and the team did amazing today – they gave 100% and I want to thank them for this.
 
"I was really nervous because of the wind. Everyone was expecting some crosswind, we tried several times to make a split but the wind wasn't strong enough. It was a tough race today.
 
"I just said 'OK, now I have to go because we did a little mistake'. But in the end, I got behind another lead-out guy and that was ideal. 

How it unfolded

The Clásica de Almería, the second ProSeries one-day race of the season after Trofeo Laigueglia earlier on Sunday, took in 188km along the Alboran coast in the south of Spain, starting and finishing in Roquetas de Mar.
 
With a flat finish after a hilly start, the race is usually one for the sprinters, reflected in the start list with the likes of Ackermann, Viviani, Kristoff, Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott lining up.
 
The break of the day formed quickly, after just 12km. Joan Bou (Fundación-Orbea), Ricardo Vilela (Burgos-BH), Sergio Roman Martin (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Rasmus Quaade (Riwal Readynez) and Daniel Viegas (Kometa Xstra) got out front and quickly built a two-minute gap by the first intermediate sprint.

Viegas led the way to pick up three points and would do the same on two of the remaining three sprint points to clinch the sprint prize for the day. Back in the peloton, Cofidis put in work on behalf of their new sprinter Viviani.

Bou was first over the first two climbs of the day, the second-category Alto Aljibe de la Cruz and the third-category Alto de la Alquera, to grab ten KOM points. The quintet's lead, meanwhile, fluctuated between two and three minutes as Cofidis, UAE Team Emirates and Bora-Hansgrohe commanded the peloton.

Bou, a new signing for Fundación-Orbea after Vini Fantini folded, saw that the prize was definitively his on the Alto de Fuente Marbella after 88km. With a largely flat run-in over the final 75km, the break didn't stand a great chance of staying away, and so it proved as the gap evaporated on the run to the day's final climb.

There, Bou picked up another three points, but the peloton was only a dozen seconds in arrears, and the break's adventure was soon over with 50km still to race.

A handful of kilometres later, a crash in the peloton saw a number of riders hit the deck, with Erik Fetter (Kometa Xstra) and Arvid De Klein (Riwal Readynez) forced to abandon.
 
The remainder of the run-in, however, was fairly standard sprint fare, with Israel Start-Up Nation, Mitchelton-Scott, B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, and AG2R La Mondiale among the teams making pace at the head of the peloton.
 
A mix of lead-out men came to the front in the final kilometre, with Bora-Hansgrohe and Mitchelton-Scott pulling off slightly early. Sabatini stuck it out though, inadvertently providing a near-perfect platform for Ackermann to launch for his first win of 2020.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe4:24:04
2Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
3Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
4Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
5Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
6Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
9Juan José Lobato (Spa) Fundación-Orbea
10Thomas Boudat (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic

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