The Vattenfall Cyclassics one-day race in Hamburg, Germany, is more than just a world class professional bike race: it is a celebration of cycling that highlights all that is positive about the sport.
The event includes the men's 240km professional race, the Youngclassics junior race, mass-participation events over various distances that attract 20,000 riders, and also a huge bike fair and exhibition in Hamburg’s Jungfernstieg and Rathausmark. A total of 800,000 people watch the races, ride their bikes and enjoy the weekend events. The organisers are right to declare Vattenfall Cyclassics Europe’s largest bike race.
Professional cycling in Germany has suffered a number of setbacks in recent years but the huge numbers of people still riding their bikes for fitness, transport and for sport prove that cycling has a special appeal. German cycling is on the cusp of a solid and believable Renaissance. Following the success of Tony Martin, André Greipel, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, German cycling fans are keen to cheer for their riders and enjoy the sport once again. This year the Giant-Alpecin team is registered in Germany and will compete in all the UCI WorldTour races. Bora- Argon 18 is a smaller Professional Continental squad but hopes to secure other invitations to major races and will no doubt target the Vattenfall Cyclassics.
In 2015 the Vattenfall Cyclassics celebrates its 20th anniversary and the race and the rides are set to be bigger and better than ever. The UCI WorldTour race is now a highlight on the late summer calendar, with riders fighting for victory and the precious UCI ranking points.
The Vattenfall Cyclassics is not an especially hilly race but it is thrilling and always has a nail-biting finish. The riders make fierce attacks as the race climbs up from the banks of the river Elbe. The peloton usually chases any attackers but does not always catch them, making it impossible to predict who will emerge as the winner.
“Although the race profile may appear more suitable for the sprinters, it can ultimately be won by all types of great rider, and it’s exactly this kind of race that’s needed for a well-balanced WorldTour.” Race Director Roland Hofer explained.
In 2014 the sprinters took the glory, with Norway's Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) beating Italy's Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) and Australia's Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge). Kristoff showed his UCI WorldTour potential by also winning Milano-Sanremo and two stages at the Tour de France in 2014. His victory in Hamburg proved he is far more than a sprinter and makes him a contender for virtually every one-day Classic on the UCI WorldTour calendar.