With 22 teams, Eschborn-Frankfurt welcomes a top-class field on May 1. For the first time in the history of Germany’s most traditional one-day race 12 teams from the WorldTour will participate. Only three days after the Ardennes monument Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Eschborn-Frankfurt offers another challenge. 187.5 kilometers long and peppered with 3,222 meters of altitude, the classic is one for the specialists.
Nils Politt (Team Katusha-Alpecin) showed an outstanding performance at Paris-Roubaix and will line-up at Eschborn-Frankfurt: “I’m in the form of my life. It’s almost a pity that it’s still two more weeks to go until May 1. But after Roubaix, I’m also glad to take a short break and to recover. I’ll be fresh again on time for Eschborn-Frankfurt. It would be great to get my first classic victory in front of a German audience – after I scored a stage win already at the Deutschland Tour." The German races are a successful springboard for the 25-year-old. It’s been 5 years between the second place in the U23 edition of Eschborn-Frankfurt and the second place at Paris-Roubaix. With his stage win in the Deutschland Tour last year, which was also his first pro win, Politt made another step towards a successful classic campaign.
Next to Nils Politt, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) will compete for a German home victory. After he had to take a break last year due to injury, Degenkolb is especially motivated for his home race on May 1: “Paris - Roubaix is not quite ticked off, but still my gaze moves forward. I'm looking forward to the cycling classic every year and luckily, I have some rest now and can prepare myself ideally. And no one would be happier than me if the German fans could celebrate a home victory this year. But it will not be easy, but of course I will do anything for it.” It was Degenkolb himself in 2011 who scored the last German win in Frankfurt. German champion Pascal Ackermann bets on a sprint finish where a victory should give him tailwind for his debut in the coming Grand Tour.
Not only the German champions, also the international classic stars will try to break the winning streak of Kristoff. Most of all the podium of last year is looking for revenge: Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale). So, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) will be under special observation. With four wins in a row at Eschborn-Frankfurt plus an impressive spring the Norwegian is self-confident: "My form is right in this classics campaign and it has been great weeks. I won Eschborn-Frankfurt four times and I am actually the most winning guy in this race in history. It’s cool because it’s a very historical race. I hope I can be first over the line again but it’s going to be hard to win a race five times in row.” If it comes to the fifth victory, Kristoff secured his place in the history books: no other rider has ever managed to win a WorldTour classic five times in a row. Moreover, Kristoff follows the footsteps of a legend who was also a winner in Frankfurt (in 1971). With 7 wins at Milan-Sanremo, Eddy Merckx holds the absolute record of classic victories.
(provisional as of April 16, 2019)
AG2R La Mondiale: NAESEN Oliver, VANDENBERGH Stijn
Astana Pro Team: NIELSEN Magnus Cort
Bahrain-Merida: BAUHAUS Phil, HAUSSLER Heinrich, SIEBERG Marcel
Bora-hansgrohe: ACKERMANN Pascal, KONRAD Patrick, SELIG Rüdiger
CCC Team: TEN DAM Laurens, WISNIOWSKI Lukasz
Cofidis, Solutions Credits: HOFSTETTER Hugo
EF Education First: BRESCHEL Matti, CLARKE Simon
Gazprom-Rusvelo: PORSEV Alexander
Israel Cycling Academy: CIMOLAI Davide, VAN ASBROECK Tom
Lotto Soudal: KLUGE Roger, VANENDERT Jelle
Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM: VISCONTI Giovanni
Roompot-Charles: WEENING Pieter
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: SPRENGERS Thomas
Team Arkea-Samsic: BARGUIL Warren, GREIPEL André
Team Dimension Data: BOASSEN HAGEN Edvald, VALGREN Michael
Team Katusha-Alpecin: BATTAGLIN Enrico, HALLER Marco, POLITT Nils
Team Sunweb: BAKELANTS Jan, MATTHEWS Michael
Total Direct Energie: BONIFAZIO Niccolò
Trek-Segafredo: DEGENKOLB John, THEUNS Edward
UAE Team Emirates: KRISTOFF Alexander
Wallonie Bruxelles: PLANCKAERT Baptiste
Wanty-Groupe Gobert: BAUGNIES Jérôme, VANSPEYBROUCK Pieter