The UCI 1.1-sanctioned German contest, the last "big" one-day race of this early season, running over a 205-km. route (consisting of an early part of 65 kms, followed by three laps of a 44-km. circuit with lots of ascents, then back to the line for a couple laps of another small urban circuit) on the outksirts of Frankfurt-am-Main, kicked off in rainy weather conditions at about 11 hours AM local time.
The race got off to a fast start, with several breakaway attempts coming right after the flag was dropped. Holland's Jan Koerts and four more riders made the first break, but the peloton quickly countered their move. No more than 10 minutes into the race, Germany's Lars Wackernagel (Team Wiesenhof) won the first Intermediate Sprint at Hattersheim in front of former Under 23 ITT World Champion Tomas Vaitkus of Lithuania (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) Soon later four riders took about 300m out of the bunch, but got reeled in quickly. The second sprint, at the km. 11.1 mark, saw Belgian Jens Renders (Mr. Bookmaker.com-Palmans) as winner from Holland's Marco Bos (Bankgiroloterij), and Germans Rene Obst (Team Wiesenhof) and Christian Werner of the mighty T-Mobile.
The following attempt came from the Belgian-German duo of Johan Coenen (Mr.Bookmaker.com-Palmans) and Roberto Lochowski (Team Wiesenhof), but it didn't prosper either. Then it was the turn of Frederik Veuchelen (Vlaanderen-T-Interim) to have a go at riding away from the field. Needless to say, his solo attempt didn't succeed.
Italian neopro Emanuele Sella of Ceramiche Panaria-Margres was also part of the breakaway group, and took the second KOM Prime at Feldberg from Frank van Dulmen (Hol - Bankgiroloterij) and Swissman Gregory Rast of Phonak; a few minutes later the front bunch, that after some "changes" was now containing also Torsten Schmidt (Ger - Gerolsteiner), Danilo Hondo (Ger - Gerolsteiner), Jens Renders (Bel - Mr.Bookmaker.com-Palmans), Johan Coenen (Bel - Mr.Bookmaker.com-Palmans), Frederik Veuchelen (Bel - Vlaanderen-T-Interim), Karsten Kroon (Holland - Rabobank), Christian Werner (Ger - T-Mobile), and Björn Schröder (Ger - Team Wiesenhof), who brought their advantage up to six mins.
One and a half hours into the race, two riders attacked the break and gained about 50 meters, but the other escapees immediately closed this small gap down. As for the "big" gap, the one between the break and not-so-chasing field, it had gone up to a good seven minutes.
Pure sprinter Danilo Hondo became a solid candidate to be crowned "King of the Mountains" of this race, as he took also the fourth Mountain Prime at Billtalhöhe, this time ahead of Werner and Sella, though in the KOM standings he was still four seconds down to the Italian. But his own teammate Torsten Schmidt seemed not to agree, and was first across the line at the fifth Prime (Ruppertshain, km. 77.2) from Björn Schröder, thus stealing Hondo the runner-up spot in the KOM classification, still led by Sella with a three-point margin over the "waterboy". In the meantime, neither the rain stopped falling, nor the gap over the now Bankgiroloterij-led peloton (that managed to bring Germany's Rene Obst of Team Wiesenhof back at least), stopped increasing: it actually went up to 08'20".
Not content with the KOM leadership, Emanuele "Cannibal" Sella had a shot at winning the third Hot Spot Sprint, but Team Wiesenhof's Bjoern Schroeder was faster and took the points from him. Sella repeated defeat, this time to Phonak's Gregory Rast, at the fourth Sprint (Bad Sonen), with Coenen taking third. And when the fifth sprint (Sulzbach, km. 101) came, a few minutes later, it was Schroeder that won again, with Kroon replacing Sella in the runner-up spot. And the bunch? More and more down; as the end of the fourth hour of racing approached, the gap was a huge 08'40".
Sella realized that he was not the man for Intermediate Sprints anyway, and thus had a winning comeback to "his" KOM Primes, as he won the sixth one at Mammolsheiner (Km. 107.3). In the meantime, probably not having the utmost confidence that, in an eventual bunch sprint of nine, their man in the break Christian Werner could be faster than former teammate Danilo Hondo, and definitely with an Erik Zabel hungry to add a third Henninger Turm win to his palmares, the T-Mobile guys moved to the front of the bunch to put in a serious chase. With little immediate success anyway, as by the time they hit the top of Mammolsheiner, the gap was still 08'30", and they didn't gain no more than a dozen seconds in the following kilometres.
The next two climbs saw Gerolsteiner's Torsten Schmidt in the spotlight, as the German won the KOM Primes both at Billtalhöhe -in front of Björn Schröder- and Ruppertshainer, ahead of Johan Conen, Christian Werner and his own team-mate Danilo Hondo. The only things worthy of mention at this point of the race, with a bit less than 100k to go, with the nine men in the break, belonging to several different teams, working well together, and the T-Mobile-led pack very slightly trying to bring the gap down, were the end of Frank van Dulmen's adventure in the front bunch, as the Bankgiroloterij rider got dropped and quickly lost a couple mins to both the leaders and the main peloton, and the KOM Primes and Hot Spot Sprints. The seventh sprint (at Bad Soden) was won by Switzerland's Gregory Rast, one of the few top-class riders of the Phonak Hearing Sytems team not racing Le Tour de Romandie, while at his last attempt Italy's Sella finally managed to be first in an Intermediate Sprint, as he outsprinted Danilo Hondo and Mr.Bookmaker-Palmans' Belgian Johan Coenen.
Back to the Mammolshainer Berg for the ninth KOM Prime, and back to another victory by Torsten Schmidt, who came first across the top a climb for the fourth time, the third in a row, with Christian Werner and Johan Coenen following, such that the German turned the most serious candidate to the King of the Mountain crown. Fellow waterboy Hondo from Cottbus won the last KOM sprint from Karsten Kroon, Gregory Rast and Christian Werner.
But as the race progressed and kept heading for downtown Frankfurt, Erik Zabel's chances of scoring the hat-trick suddenly kept growing, as the T-Mobile guys at the front of the bunch, Matthias Kessler and Rolf Aldag in particular, became very serious about the chase and shrinked the gap down to about 03'15" with just 40k to the line. In the following kms., as the rain stopped falling at the finish line, one fugitive got dropped and the leading bunch lost one of their members, while the chasers brought the gap to the now eight-strong break down to three minutes with some 33k to the finish. The T-Mobile boys were taking turns at the front of the bunch, with "giants" like Kessler, Wesemann and Aldag flying on flat terrain, while the previous efforts were taking their toll on the front runners, as only Karsten Kroon and Thorsten Schmidt were setting the pace in the break, whose chances to make it to the line were getting slimmer.
Just to add insult to injury, the same Schmidt lost contact when he and Panaria's Emanuele Sella hit the ground with less than 20k to go. The German quickly regained the break anyway, whereas Sella remained a few meters behind. A group of five, containing Hondo and Schmidt as well as Coenen, Rast and Kroon reached the line for the first time at km. 196.7, with Werner a dozen seconds back, and unfortunate Sella further behind. But there was a split in the chasing bunch, too, such that a first part, with 20-30 rdiers and the T-Mobile boys still at the front, got to the line about 01'53" behind the leaaders, and the rest trailing further behind.
That was good news for Switzerland's Gregory Rast, red hot favourite Danilo Hondo, his teammate Torsten Schmidt as well as Belgian Johan Coenen and Holand's Karsten Kroon who, in the first of the three closing laps of urban circuit inside Frankfurt, even extended their advantage over the T-Mobile-led chasing bunch (with Wesemann, Kessler and Aldag still setting the pace) to a good 02'20". The guys in magenta reacted, and brought the gap down to 01'30" by the end of the first closing lap, while their former man in the break Christian Werner had lost all of his chances as he was trailing by 40".
The five leaders maintained a good advantage also in the penultimate lap, that ended with Rast, Hondo, Schmidt, Coenen and Kroon leading the bunch by 46", while all other former escapees had been chased down. The bunch, with heroic Aldag always at the front, managed to bring the gap down to 32" halfway through the last lap, but it was too late: The quintet worked well together all the way to the line, with Thorsten Schmidt obviously doing's the Lion's share of the work for Danilo Hondo.
And it all came down to a sprint of five (actually four, as Schmidt never was a real contender). It was Karsten Kroon that launched the sprint first, then Danilo Hondo came out in the final metres ... but was unable to come around the Dutch rider and, to the surprise of many, all the German could do was watching the Rabo-boy raise his left leg in triumph.
Karsten Kroon (Hol - Rabobank) was the winner of the 43rd Rund um den Henninger Turm!
Danilo Hondo, Johan Coenen, Gregory Rast and Thorsten Schmidt followed, while Erik Zabel couldn't win the bunch sprint for sixth place either, and finished seventh behind Coenen's teamate and fellow Belgian Björn Leukemans.
Kroon and Coenen on the podium - but no
43rd Rund um Den Henninger Turm (1.1): Elite men Results
1. 156 NED19760129 KROON, Karsten - Rabobank - 05h21'10”
2. 3 GER19740104 HONDO, Danilo - Gerolsteiner - 05h21'10”
3. 121 BEL19790204 COENEN, Johan - Mr.Bookmaker.com-Palmans - 05h21'10”
4. 148 SUI19800117 RAST, Gregory - Phonak Hearing Systems - 05h21'13”
5. 5 GER19720218 SCHMIDT, Torsten - Gerolsteiner - 05h21'16”
6. 124 BEL19770701 LEUKEMANS, Björn - Mr.Bookmaker.com-Palmans - 05h21'38”
7. 188 GER19700707 ZABEL, Erik - T-Mobile Team - 05h21'38”
8. 8 SUI19740627 ZBERG, Marcus - Gerolsteiner - 05h21'38”
9. 166 ITA19730729 MAZZOLENI, Eddy - Saeco - 05h21'38”
10. 86 ITA19800702 MARINANGELI, Sergio - Domina Vacanze - 05h21'38”
11. 126 BEL19700806 THIJS, Erwin - Mr.Bookmaker.com-Palmans - 05h21'38”
12. 111 BEL19690818 BAGUET, Serge Lotto-Domo - 05h21'38”
13. 164 ITA19740319 CELESTINO, Mirko - Saeco - 05h21'38”
14. 141 SUI19801220 ALBASINI, Michael - Phonak Hearing Systems - 05h21'38”
15. 211 CZE19760129 BENCIK, Petr - eD'System-ZVVZ - 05h21'38”
16. 147 SLO19750209 MURN, Uros - Phonak Hearing Systems - 05h21'41”
17. 1 ITA19710809 REBELLIN, Davide - Gerolsteiner - 05h21'41”
18. 195 BEL19790528 VAN HUFFEL, Wim - Vlaanderen-T-Interim - 05h21'41”
19. 117 BEL19740723 VERBRUGGHE, Rik - Lotto-Domo - 05h21'43”
20. 194 BEL19781220 PEETERS, Jef - Vlaanderen-T-Interim - 05h21'43”
21. 81 SLO19770320 DEGANC, Martin - Domina Vacanze - 05h21'46”
22. 4 ITA19650716 FARESIN, Gianni - Gerolsteiner - 05h21'46”
23. 181 GER19680825 ALDAG, Rolf - T-Mobile Team - 05h21'51”
24. 187 GER19710311 WESEMANN, Steffen - T-Mobile Team - 05h22'00”
25. 112 BEL19770506 BRANDT, Christophe - Lotto-Domo - 05h22'33”
26. 12 POL19700919 BROZYNA, Tomasz - Action Ati - 05h22'45”
27. 123 ESP19720229 CASTRE SANA, DELVAL - Mr.Bookmaker.com-Palmans - 05h22'45”
28. 213 AUT19791209 PFANNBERGER, Christi - eD'System-ZVVZ - 05h22'45”
29. 143 SUI19820701 TSCHOPP, Johann - Phonak Hearing Systems - 05h22'45”
30. 198 BEL19780904 VEUCHELEN, Frederik - Vlaanderen-T-Interim - 05h22'50”
31. 87 ITA19740729 GIUNTI, Massimo - Domina Vacanze - 05h23'37”
32. 182 GER19790516 KESSLER, Matthias - T-Mobile Team - 05h23'50”
33. 186 GER19790628 WERNER, Christian - T-Mobile Team - 05h24'33”
34. 135 I TA19810109 SELLA, Emanuele - Ceramiche Panaria-Margres - 05h26'24”
35. 157 NED19731019 LOTZ, Marc - Rabobank - 05h26'54”
Starters: 150. Finishers: 35.
Karsten Kroon. Photo by
43rd Rund um Den Henninger Turm (1.1): U23 men Results
1. 63 De Maar, Marc RB3 Rabobank 04.16.51”
2. 62 Dekker, Thomas RB3 Rabobank - at 02'15”
3. 64 Gilling, Bas RB3 Rabobank - at 02'15”
4. 2 Dietziker, Andreas SUI Schweiz Nat - at 02'50”
5. 68 Sutherland, Rory RB3 Rabobank - at 03'38”
6. 257 Westphal, Carlo WSA Team Wiesen - at 03'48”
7. 232 Gerdemann, Linus WIN Team Winfix - at 03'51”
8. 135 Heiny, Stefan ROT Team Rothau - at 03'52”
9. 61 Stamsnijder, T. RB3 Rabobank - at 04'01”
10. 46 Schleck, Andy LUX Luxemburg N - at 04'02”
11. 66 Pouwels, Serge RB3 Rabobank - at 04'16”
12. 32 Berger, Harald AUT Österreich - at 04'18”
13. 27 Wernli, Mario BCT Bürgis Cycl - at 04'21”
14. 7 Stalder, Florian SUI Schweiz Nat - at 04'24”
15. 196 Musiol, Daniel KED Bianchi Tea - at 04'24”
16. 183 Greipel, Andre KÖS RG TEAG Tea - at 04'24”
17. 137 Kindle, Christoph ROT Team Rothau - at 04'24”
18. 58 Veelers, Tom CTT Cycling Tea - at 04'24”
19. 156 GOTTFRIED, Alexander RHB RG Hofbräur - at 04'24”
20. 182 Fothen, Thomas KÖS RG TEAG Tea - at 04'24”
21. 55 Oegema, Bart CTT Cycling Tea - at 04'28”
22. 22 Frei, Thomas BCT Bürgis Cycl - at 04'28”
23. 103 Crombez, Stun RAB Royal Antwe - at 04'28”
24. 181 Dworatzek, Falk KÖS RG TEAG Tea - at 04'28”
25. 26 Siegfried, Marcel BCT Bürgis Cycl - at 04'28”
26. 234 Leben, Christian WIN Team Winfix - at 04'30”
27. 52 Hassink, Arne CTT Cycling Tea - at 04'30”
28. 154 Russ, Matthias RHB RG Hofbräur - at 04'30”
29. 57 Van Dulmen, Thom CTT Cycling Tea - at 04'33”
30. 51 Beima, Marcel CTT Cycling Tea - at 04'38”
31. 191 Burchert, Lars KED Bianchi Tea - at 07'38”
32. 81 Berk, Johann HSK HSK Trias N - at 07'38”
33. 117 Vermeer, Tom RMN Region Midd - at 07'38”
34. 252 Lucke, Björn WSA Team Wiesen - at 07'38”
35. 208 Wilhelm, Rüdiger TOB Team Optik - at 07'38”
36. 53 Soepenberg, Ger CTT Cycling Tea - at 07'38”
37. 193 Honstein, Timo KED Bianchi Tea - at 07'38”
38. 148 Schmid, Peter STG Team Stuttg - at 07'38”
39. 28 Wyss, Danilo BCT Bürgis Cycl - at 07'38”
40. 98 Züsli, Fabian GSR GS Rufaflex - at 07'38”
41. 1 Schärrer, Simon SUI Schweiz Nat - at 07'38”
42. 151 Binnig, David RHB RG Hofbräur - at 07'38”
43. 6 Schwab, Hubert SUI Schweiz Nat - at 07'38”
44. 33 Eibegger, Markus AUT Österreich - at 07'38”
45. 192 Gniot, Felix KED Bianchi Tea - at 07'38”
46. 42 Didier, Laurent LUX Luxemburg N - at 07'38”
47. 45 Kirch, Joe LUX Luxemburg N - at 07'38”
48. 215 Piper, Florian COT ISPO Lotusa - at 07'38”
49. 141 Aigner, Daniel STG Team Stuttg - at 07'38”
50. 121 Anke, Rene WIE Team Wiesen - at 07'38”
51. 238 Röglin, Henrik WIN Team Winfix - at 07'38”
52. 198 Spitzbarth, Armin KED Bianchi Tea - at 07'38”
53. 213 Klipp, Christoph COT ISPO Lotusa - at 07'38”
54. 38 Schröger, Matthias AUT Österreich - at 07'38”
55. 211 Dassler, Ingmar COT ISPO Lotusa - at 07'38”
56. 124 Kiritschenko, Marco WIE Team Wiesen - at 07'38”
57. 186 Paddags, Sebastian KÖS RG TEAG Tea - at 07'38”
58. 34 Kugler, Josef AUT Österreich - at 07'38”
59. 127 Grawunder, Thomas WIE Team Wiesen - at 07'38”
60. 256 Rödel, Hennes WSA Team Wiesen - at 07'38”
61. 134 Gut, Alexander ROT Team Rothau - at 07'38”
62. 188 Martin, Tony KÖS RG TEAG Tea - at 07'38”
63. 223 Kwiatkista, Danny RGF RG LG Frank - at 07'38”
64. 185 Müller, Christian KÖS RG TEAG Tea - at 07'38”
65. 254 Opitz, Konrad WSA Team Wiesen - at 07'38”
66. 202 Fröhlinger, Johannes TOB Team Optik - at 07'38”
67. 24 Phyn, Manuel BCT Bürgis Cycl - at 07'38”
68. 152 Fleig, Martin RHB RG Hofbräur - at 07'38”
69. 143 Rück, Tobias STG Team Stuttg - at 07'38”
70. 241 Brandstetter, Sebast RVS RV Sossenhe - at 07'38”
71. 162 Fischer, Karsten LVH LV Hessen - at 07'38”
72. 132 Dörflinger, Dominik ROT Team Rothau - at 07'38”
73. 44 Hendel, Gilles LUX Luxemburg N - at 07'38”
74. 111 Akkermann, Jeroen RMN Region Midd - at 07'38”
75. 255 Reich, Markus WSA Team Wiesen - at 07'38”
76. 178 Schwerdt, Christoph TMB Team Mapei - at 07'38”
77. 35 Reiser, Johannes AUT Österreich - at 07'38”
78. 123 Keller, Patrick WIE Team Wiesen - at 07'38”
79. 31 Beneteseder, Josef AUT Österreich - at 07'38”
80. 37 Rzen, Christian AUT Österreich - at 07'38”
81. 201 Diener, Jörg TOB Team Optik - at 07'38”
82. 204 Heizmann, Daniel TOB Team Optik - at 07'38”
83. 48 Wurth, Benn LUX Luxemburg N - at 07'38”
84. 101 Houben, Kurt RAB Royal Antwe - at 07'38”
85. 205 Heizmann, Elnathan TOB Team Optik - at 07'38”
86. 8 Tapparel, Jimmy SUI Schweiz Nat - at 07'38”
87. 56 Van den Berg, Peter CTT Cycling Tea - at 07'38”
88. 23 Obrist, Gilbert BCT Bürgis Cycl - at 07'38”
89. 147 Stauch, Benjamin STG Team Stuttg - at 07'38”