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Kristoff wins fourth straight Eschborn-Frankfurt

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European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) wins opening stage of Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt

European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) wins opening stage of Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alexander Kristoff suffered in the cold and finished last on stage 3 of Paris-Nice

Alexander Kristoff suffered in the cold and finished last on stage 3 of Paris-Nice (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) wins opening stage of Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt

European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) wins opening stage of Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) wins Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt

European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) wins Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Katusha-Alpecin bikes ready for action

The Katusha-Alpecin bikes ready for action (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen gets ready

Edvald Boasson Hagen gets ready (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fernando Gaviria is back to racing

Fernando Gaviria is back to racing (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fans watch the peloton go by

Fans watch the peloton go by (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Home favourite Marcel Kittel

Home favourite Marcel Kittel (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fernando Gaviria happy to be back to racing

Fernando Gaviria happy to be back to racing (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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UCI checks bikes for motors

UCI checks bikes for motors (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)

Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nacer Bouhanni returns to racing after a month off

Nacer Bouhanni returns to racing after a month off (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nacer Bouhanni jokes with his teammates

Nacer Bouhanni jokes with his teammates (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Max Walscheid leads the group up the climb

Max Walscheid leads the group up the climb (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

European champion Alexander Kristoff muscled his way to a repeat victory in the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt on Tuesday. The UAE Team Emirates rider out-paced Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) in the sprint finish. 

Kristoff benefitted from a premature effort by Quick-Step Floors' Fernando Gaviria, who appeared to misjudge the final turn.

"I was lucky because Gaviria went wrong in the last corner," Kristoff said. "He had a small gap so it would have been hard to close. Luck was on my side and in the end, I managed to take it so I'm really happy."

The Eschborn-Frankfurt was given a makeover for its 2018 edition, with a hillier route designed to give the non-sprinters more of a chance of victory.

The remaining riders from a breakaway that went clear on the penultimate climb were only reeled in with 3km to go, and the strain of the 211km race showed on Kristoff's face as the peloton worked to bring the leaders back.

"I did not really feel strong," Kristoff admitted. "On the second lap I was dropped, but luckily I managed to recover and got better. The last two times I felt better and managed to stay in the group."

It's Kristoff's fourth straight victory in the race.

How it unfolded

Beautiful sunshine greeted the riders as they headed out of Eschborn for 211km of racing. The first point of interest came in Bad Homburg with a sprint after 31km before the race headed into the hills. The first climb, the Feldberg (12.6km, averaging 4.7 per cent) came 52km into the race.

The day's early breakaway included Aleksejs Saramotins (Bora-Hansgrohe), Floris Gerts (Roompot), Daniel Teklehaimanot (Cofidis), Antoine Warnier (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect), Aaron Gate (Aqua Blue Sport), Yukiya Arashiro (Bahrain-Merida), and David Tanner (Veranda's Willems-Crelan), and they were given a lead of a few minutes as the peloton saved its forces over the lumpy long loop.

The course traversed several testing ascents on the loop. The 1.3km Ruppertshain, averaging 8.5 per cent, was a particular leg breaker and, together with the 3km Mammolshain (6.7 per cent), punished the peloton three times. The 3.1km Billtalhohe (6.1 per cent) was tackled twice, with an additional trip over the Mammolshain thrown in before the flat run-in to Frankfurt.

By the time the leaders reached the Ruppertshain with 79km to go, the peloton was within half a minute, and three riders leapt clear to bridge across to the group; Michael Gogl (Trek-Segafredo), Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) made the breakaway 10-strong, but soon Teklehaimanot was left behind.

The remaining group of nine shattered over the Mammolshain, with Gogl, Lambrecht, and Muhlberger leaving the rest behind as the peloton kept them at arm's length, just 20 seconds ahead.

With 50km to go, Arashiro was put back to work chasing the trio for teammate Grega Bole from a front peloton that split over the Mammolshain. Also in the group were Nils Politt and Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin), Laurens De Plus (Quick-Step Floors), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo). The group soon reeled in the trio ahead, while the peloton was shedding sprinters behind the pace of Team Sunweb, 45 seconds behind.

On the final ascent of the Mammolshain, the last climb of the race, the peloton was closing in, 35 seconds in arrears as the breakaway began to lose the early attackers. Arashiro was first to go, followed by Politt, leaving eight riders in the lead.

Behind, attacks flew on the climb from Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Dimension Data's Merhawi Kudus, and they were joined over the top by a CCC's Jan Tratnik, Pieter Weening (Roompot), Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin).

This second group slowly clawed its way up to the leaders, sitting midway between the reduced peloton and the head of the race at 20 seconds with 33 largely flat kilometres to go. Riding in his first race since being hit by a car in South Africa and fracturing his pelvis and sacrum, De Plus mostly tail-gunned the leading group while the rest kept a steady rotation, holding off the Matthews group.

With 25km to go, the eight leaders enjoyed a 53-second lead over the chasers and it looked as if the new formula had indeed turned the race on its head. Soon the chasers threw in the towel and were picked up by the peloton, led by UAE Team Emirates for Kristoff, Quick-Step Floors, and CCC Sprandi Polkowice, who were left with a gap of 1:20 to make up over the final 20km.

Quick-Step, knowing that De Plus was out-powered in the lead group, started to pour on the power in the chase, and slashed the advantage of the leaders to just 35 seconds as they wound through Frankfurt with 17km to go. With the peloton bearing down, there was an attack with 10.7km to go from Bernard, with Spilak and Bole latching on. Buchmann and Lambrecht fought to rejoin the leaders but only the Bora-Hansgrohe rider made it across. Now only four-strong, the lead group held a lead of 15 seconds on the peloton with 8km to go. With four to go, the gap was down to five seconds.

However, the Quick-Step Floors team had the quartet in its sights as they led the peloton through the finishing chute with 6km to go, but let the four leaders dangle, finally sweeping past with 3km to go. UAE Team Emirates sent Aleksandr Riabushenko off the front with 2.5km to go in an attempt to foil the script. Several counter-attacks followed, but the sprint was inevitable.

Quick-Step had the lead-out in its hand, and Gaviria looked to have stolen a march on his rivals, only to misjudge the final bend and bash his handlebars in frustration. In the long subsequent drag to the line, Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) opened up the sprint, but Kristoff mowed him down, holding off Matthews to take a repeat win.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates5:13:24
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
3Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
4Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
6Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
7Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
8Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
9Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
11Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
12Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
13Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
14Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal
15Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
16Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
17Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
18Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
19Casper Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport
20Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
21Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo0:00:07
22Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
23Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
24Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
25Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors0:00:10
26Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:00:18
27Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:28
28Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:00:44
29Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
30Julien Mortier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
31Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
32Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal
33Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
34Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan
35Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
36James Shaw (GBr) Lotto Soudal
37Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:49
38Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo
39Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
40Marco Tizza (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
41Patryk Stosz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:01:12
42Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
43Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data0:01:26
44Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport0:01:37
45Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
46Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
47Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
48Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data
49Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
50Davide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
51Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
52Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
53Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
54Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-Alpecin
55Ildar Arslanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
56Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
57Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data
58Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:01:43
59Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida
60Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
61Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
62Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
63Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
64Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
65Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert0:03:33
66Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:03:52
67Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Fortuneo-Samsic0:04:11
68Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
69Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue Sport
70Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
71Matteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFFilippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFOliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFRick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
DNFSteff Cras (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
DNFMarcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
DNFMarco Mathis (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal
DNFLawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFEnzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFPhil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFJohannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFSimon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFJai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNFEdward Theuns (Bel) Team Sunweb
DNFMax Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFFabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
DNFMaximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
DNFNicolas Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data
DNFJay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data
DNFPascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFPeter Kennaugh (GBr) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFGregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek-Segafredo
DNFGregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAlex Frame (NZl) Trek-Segafredo
DNFEduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
DNFSho Hatsuyama (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
DNFMarino Kobayashi (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFRudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFJulien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFStijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFEnrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFValerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFIvan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
DNFMeiyin Wang (Chn) Bahrain-Merida
DNFPieter Weening (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
DNFTim Ariesen (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
DNFFloris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
DNFJeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
DNFSjoerd van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
DNFBrian van Goethem (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
DNFMichel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport
DNFAndrew Fenn (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
DNFPeter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport
DNFMatthew Brammeier (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport
DNFSimon Antonini (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
DNFOdd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
DNFNacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFDaniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFMichaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFPreben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFThomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFKenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFAaron Verwilst (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFBrice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
DNFArnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
DNFJustin Jules (Fra) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
DNFThomas Deruette (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
DNFLukas Spengler (Swi) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
DNFAntoine Warnier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
DNFMarko Kump (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
DNFMichal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
DNFDries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFArjen Livyns (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFStijn Steels (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFDavid Tanner (Aus) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFZico Waeytens (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFNikolay Trusov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFIgor Boev (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo

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