EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg continues to entice the sprinters

For its 21st edition, the Vattenvall Cyclassics gets a new sponsor and new name and is now officially known as the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg.

The WorldTour race itself remains a day for the sprinters and has again attracted a stellar start list including previous champions Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Alexander Kristoff (Norway), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).

Since it's debut on the professional calendar in 1996, American Tyler Farrar remains the only multiple winner with his back-to-back 2009-2010 victories.

The main feature of the 217km parcour is the Waseberg climb, tackled four times in the second half of the race. It can split the peloton and ruin the day for the sprinters but the race usually comes back together before the line, meaning one the fastmen will raise their arms in triumphs.

The route

Starting in Hamburg, the peloton heads south on the flat roads that lead out of the city centre, with the day's breakaway likely to be formed in the opening kilometres. Holm-Seppensen marks the southern most point of the race before the peloton turns back toward to the north and makes it way back into the route that took it south. Two sprint points are on offer and add points of interest for crowds and the riders.

Once back in Hamburg, the peloton will tackle a loop in the west of the city, allowing the thousands of sportif riders to complete their rides at the finish. Having completed the lap, the peloton will then come onto a smaller 12.8km circuit along side the banks for the Elbe River which includes the Waseberg climb as the main challenge. In total, the circuit will be ridden three times with the final ascent of the Waseberg coming with 16.2km to race and likely to be a launching pad for any late attacks.

A fast and frenetic finale is sure to ensure with the sprint teams chasing any attackers and getting their men into position before the finish on the Mönckebergstrasse. 

The favourites

Besides the former winners on the start list, add in the likes of Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step), Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and a top-ten placing looks like being a good result. Mark Cavendish is yet to be confirmed as a starter and while he was the dominant sprinter of the Tour de France, might not have his road legs back just a week after winning silver on the track at the Rio Olympic Games.

The German trio of Kittel, Greipel and Kittel should all feature at the pointy end of the race and with the national federation faced with a difficult decision over who to back at the Doha World Championships, victory for Greipel or Kittel would go some way to securing the leadership role. 

Kristoff hasn't had the season he would have liked to so far, missing out on a monument for the first time in three years and missing out at the Tour de France. The Katusha rider has been first, and second on his last two appearances and coming into the race off the back of a stage win at the Arctic Race of Norway, he should again be contesting for victory.

Kittel hasn't raced since the Tour and victory in his first race back will be a confidence boost ahead of a big-second half of the season. Etixx-QuiclStep are bringing an A-level squad with Tom Boonen and Matteo Trentin all capable of taking over sprint duties should Kittel be trouble by the Waseberg.

Italian national champion Nizzolo, Bouhanni, Ewan, Rick Zabel (BMC), Ben Swift (Team Sky), Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) are outsiders for causing an upset for the sprint finish.

Should a late attack go clear and succeed in stealing the win from the fast men, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac), Michael Albasini (Orica-BikeExchange) and Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) are likely animators.  

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