Alexander Kristoff is unbeaten at Eschborn-Frankfurt since 2014. With four straight victories - the event was cancelled in 2015 - the Norwegian is the recordman of Germany’s first UCI WorldTour event of the year. Always held on May 1st,
the one-day race was first organised in 1962.
Belgium’s Armand Desmet was the first ever winner of what was then called the GP Frankfurt, also known over the years as the Henninger Turm, due to its long-term sponsorship by the Henninger Brewery.
Belgium has celebrated more wins than Germany: 17 victories vs 12 for the host country, followed by Italy with seven victories. The most prestigious winner was Eddy Merckx, in 1971, but the record book also features the names of other UCI World Champions
Jean Stablinski (1965), Rudi Altig (1970), Freddy Maertens (1976) and Gerrie Knetemann (1977) in its early days, while Australian pioneer Phil Anderson (1984 and 1985), Rolf Sørensen (1993), Michele Bartoli (1997) and Erik Zabel (1999,
2002 and 2005) made the race famous worldwide.
Interestingly, Norway is the fourth country on the winners’ tally with five victories. Dag-Otto Lauritzen, now a national TV personality, won it in 1987, but the name that is associated with the event nowadays is that of Alexander Kristoff, victorious
in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
“It’s always been a pleasure to race in Frankfurt,” said Kristoff who discovered the race passing through the Taunus Hills in 2012 (when he finished 6th) and only returned to win it four times consecutively always with a bunch
sprint, albeit sometimes a reduced bunch after the climbing.
For the fast man from Stavanger, this is often a comeback race following a break after Paris-Roubaix. He’s had a productive Flemish Classics campaign this year, winning Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields and finishing third in the Ronde van Vlaanderen
– Tour des Flandres.
“Four successes in a row make this race a special event for me”, the UAE Team Emirates rider commented. “I have many great memories that are added year after year. I think I can be so competitive in this race because we usually reach
the sprint after a very intense event. I can’t ask for anything better given my characteristics.”
His team management has organised his support with Italian lead-out man Roberto Ferrari and his two compatriots Sven Erik Bystrøm and Vegard Stake Laengen to make sure it’ll be another sprint finish this time around.
Kristoff’s record of wins in Frankfurt isn’t under threat this year. Only one other former winner is lining up: Trek-Segafredo’s John Degenkolb, who plays a key role in the revival of German cycling, as does Eschborn-Frankfurt, the showcase
event on a day which sees 17 races organised for different categories since being acquired by Tour de France promoters ASO and upgraded to the UCI WorldTour in 2017. This momentum for cycling in Germany also saw the rebirth of the Deutschland Tour
in August last year.
Runner-up one year ago, Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), German National Champion Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe), German sprinting legend André Greipel (Arkea-Samsic), Paris-Roubaix runner-up Nils Politt (Team Katusha-Alpecin), up-and-coming
Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Merida), South Africa’s Ryan Gibbons (Team Dimension Data) and newly crowned Asian Champion Evgeniy Gidich (Astana Pro Team) will be looking to put an end to Kristoff’s domination in Frankfurt.