After a splendid battle between the big guns of the Deutschland Tour all the way to the finish line of the fourth and final stage, Matej Mohoric managed to keep his overall leader’s red jersey and wins this 2018 edition of the race, ten years after its last appearance on the world cycling calendar. But The Slovenian had to give all he had to conquer the GC, threatened by all his rivals in the final loops around Stuttgart. The final day eventually saw Germany’s Nils Politt claim the stage win ahead of Mohoric and Caruso. At only 23 years of age, Mohoric conquers a second consecutive stage race after claiming the Binck Bank Tour just a week ago. Mohoric wins the event with a 6’’ lead over Politt and 12’’ over Schachmann.
The sun was back on the Deutschland Tour for the fourth and final stage of the race as the riders gathered in the city Lorsch in the Hessen district of Germany. And of course all eyes were on the new race leader Matej Mohoric, winner of yesterday’s stage and ready to defend his red jersey despite a slim 6’’ advantage over Maximilian Schachmann (QST) and 10’’ over Nils Politt (KAT) and Tom Dumoulin (SUN). Indeed the battle promised to be exciting on the 207.5kms stage on the menu, including two sprints, three hills and a bonus sprint (offering precious and possibly decisive bonus seconds) at the top of a climb with 6.5kms to go. While German sprinter André Greipel (LTS) decided to retire from the race, 121 riders took off just after noon from Hessen to the Baden-Wurttemberg Land and its capital Stuttgart.
KIRIYENKA AND CAVAGNA IN THE BREAK
At kilometre 5, three men managed to break away from the pack: Cavagna (QST), Kiriyenka (Sky) et Bonifazio (TBM). At km 16, the leaders’ advantage had already reached 2’45’’. At the top of the first climb of the day (km 23.5), claimed by Kiriyenka, the gap had more than doubled: 6’. Just after that first hill, while team Bahrain-Merida started chasing, Bonifazio stopped his efforts, leaving two men in the lead. It was then Remi Cavagna’s turn to make it first to the top of the second hill (Km 30) while Robin Carpenter (RLY), comfortably in the pack was guaranteed to finish best climber of the Deutschland Tour. At the first intermediate sprint in Neckargemund (km 45.5), won by Kiriyenka, the front two could still enjoy a 6’ lead.
From then on the gap started stabilizing as teams Barhain-Merida, Dimension Data, Bora Hansgrohe and Quick Step eased up the pace. At km 131, the front men’s advantage had dropped to 3’50’’ d’avance. À 50kms de l’arrivée, la pair Cavagna-Kiriyenka ont encore 2’30’’. With 26kms to go, Remi Cavagna, feeling the pack moving closer, decided to attack, dropping his breakaway companion who was rapidly caught. At the first crossing of the line (also an intermediate sprint, km 186.5), Cavagna still had a slim advantage on the pack led by the Sunweb boys. The Frenchman was finally caught in the third climb of the day when a group of twenty men including all the main favourites pulled away. From that group, Bakelants (ALM) and Sutterlin (MOV) took off. The two could enjoy a 15’’ lead with under 15kms to go but they were caught just before the final loop around Stuttgart.
BIG BATTLE BETWEEN THE FAVOURITES
In the climb towards the bonus sprint, Romain Bardet took off, and only a little group of riders managed to follow. The sprint was claimed by Barguil (FST) ahead of Bardet (ALM) and Caruso (BMC) as six riders powered away: Dumoulin (SUN), Bardet, Bakelants (ALM), Schachmann (QST), Caruso (BMC) and Barguil. But after enjoying a 15’’ lead, the leaders were caught by six chasers including Mohoric and Politt. A reduced group of 12 therefore showed up on the final straight ready to battle it out for victory. Second yesterday, Nils Politt this time managed to outsprint his rivals, beating Mohoric and Caruso to the line and giving Germany its second stage success on this Tour.
Overall victory therefore goes to the day’s runner-up Matej Mohoric who wins the GC with a 6’’ lead over Politt and 12’’ over Schachmann. The Slovenian confirms all the hopes placed on him when he conquered back-to-back World titles in the junior and U23 races back in 2012 and 2013. At 23 years of age, he also wins the points classification and finishes best young rider of the Deutschland Tour.