- Impressions 2018
- Stage Towns
The finale of the Deutschland Tour 2018 ran from Lorsch in South Hessen to Stuttgart. At 200 kilometers, the closing stage wasn't an easy one and kept the outcome of the race exciting up to the end. In Stuttgart, two laps of a closing circuit from the World Championships 2007 on the well-known Herdweg climb awaited the field. After the last time up that climb, there were more than 6 kilometers to the finish line, so that the Classics riders and sprinters could slug it out for the day’s victory, before the first winner of the new Deutschland Tour was crowned on the Theodor-Heuss-Straße in the heart of Stuttgart.
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.
The pros take on the longest stage to close out the Deutschland Tour – 207 kilometers from Lorsch to Stuttgart. The Sunday stage starts on the Römerstraße, near the Altes Rathaus. From the city center there is a neutralised 3.5 km course to the Froschkanzelsee. Shortly before the line between Hessen and Baden-Württemberg, the sharp start will be given. The riders will have 20 kilometers to warm up before the first climb of the day starts and the first mountain points are given out in Ursenbach. They will continue climbing up the Bergstraße and the next mountain ranking comes only 6 kilometers later. This double climb in the first hour of racing will reward those riders who are aggressive from the start, and guarantees an exciting finale.
In Neckargemünd, the Neckar river will be crossed for the first time on the day and the penultimate sprint ranking of the Deutschland Tour 2018 will be held. A constant up and down leads the peloton to the Stuttgart region. In Besigheim the Neckar will be crossed again and the course runs along the river to Marbach am Neckar. From the north, the pros reach Waiblingen and there start on the final course which 3500 hobby cyclists will have already tackled in the Jedermann Tour.
They will soon reach the capital of Baden-Württemberg, where they will have to call on their last reserves. The finale kicks off with the climb to Killesberg, before going down to the flat run-in to the finish line and Stuttgart’s “party mile”, the Theodor-Heuss-Straße. There is not time to party, though, as there is now a 10.5 kilometer closing circuit to be ridden twice. It includes the Herdweg – a climb which was decisive in the 2007 World Championships. The first time over it will be the last ranked climb and mountain points for the Deutschland Tour and the second crossing will give out valuable bonus seconds for the general classification. Classics specialist, a climbing sprinter or even a bunch sprint – the finale offers options for a variety of riders, as there are six kilometers of descent to the finish, and therefore the opportunity to catch an escape group. At about 5 pm the first winner of the new Deutschland Tour will be known and celebrated.
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