2022 BEMER Cyclassics – Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

By @EchelonsHub

With the Vuelta a Espana having few opportunities and the World championships designed for the climbers and puncheurs, the sprinters have been looking for outlets to get big wins. One of their big opportunities will be in the BEMER Cyclassics, where a world-class field will be present in one of the classics that are most sprinter-friendly.  

The Route

The route is 205 kilometers long, with the first two third almost completely flat through northern Germany. There isn’t too much to analyze, most riders will be looking to save their legs for the final third were the impact can be made on the race.  

The main feature of the race will be the Waseberg, the race’s iconic steep hilltop, on the banks of the Elbe river. It is 1 kilometer long at 7%, not the hardest of hilltops but the gradients do ramp up to 16% in it’s middle. It’s a short and explosive climb, with a downhill run-in to the base, there will be on each occasion a heavy fight for positioning and inevitable attacks.  

The climb summits with 67.5, 25 and 17 kilometers to go. The final two ascents will be separated by a very short distance, allowing for tactics and aggressive racing to develop. After going through them however, it will be a flat run-in back to the center of Hamburg and into a likely sprint. 

On this map is the final circuit the riders will race around Hamburg. However, when coming to the finish they will only ride the final 1.9 kilometers of it, hence skipping most of the technical sections. It won’t be a technical finale, however it is relatively narrow towards the end, positioning will be crucial and the gradients won’t have anything noteworthy.  

The Weather

There will be a modest breeze from the southwest. Coincidentally, this will see a tailwind off the Waseberg, which substantially helps the chances of attacks to succeed.

The Favourites

This is a race for the sprinters, however those who struggle to climb can be distanced towards the end if they’re on the wrong side of a split. With Jumbo-Visma present, a strategy to demolish the race on the hilltop is possible as they have already several times this year. Wout van Aert and Tour of Denmark winner Christophe Laporte will be extremely dangerous in this sense. There are other sprinters who will surely like a more aggressive race such as Magnus Cort Nielsen, Ivan Cortina and Hugo Hofstetter who are strong on the punchy climbs, but inbetween the faster sprinters you could considerJasper Philipsen, Alexander Kristoff and Alberto Dainese.

As for the pure sprinters, they come in heavy number. Some in their best day would thrive, but currently struggle to get over hilltops. The likes of Caleb Ewan, Peter Sagan and Fernando Gaviria come to mind. Others such as Dylan Groenewegen and Fabio Jakobsen are very fast but need the race to be as conservative as possible to be in the fight for the win. Others have shown great form recently such as Phil Bauhaus and Elia Viviani with big wins in the past few weeks. Arnaud Démare, Simone Consonni, Max Kanter and Giacomo Nizzolo will also be riders to consider, and can be important in having themselves and their teams work for a bunch sprint towards the end.

The race can favour attacks however. Sprinter interests will be high, and several can do this type of climb very well which is not ideal for someone looking to make up a small group towards the end. Still some riders as Quinten Hermans and Gonzalo Serrano are excellent puncheurs who can attack the climb, riders such as Magnus Sheffield and Stefan Bissegger are in tremendous form, whilst Nils Politt and Sep Vanmarcke are great rouleurs who can take advantage of the late tailwind to sneak away from the bunch. All of these riders lack an outright favourite to win the race, so there will be motivation to attack the race.

Prediction Time

⭐⭐⭐WV.Aert, Jakobsen, Philipsen

⭐⭐Kristoff, Démare, Bauhaus

Dainese, Hofstetter, Cort Nielsen, Groenewegen, Ewan, Sagan, Viviani, Gaviria

I will go with a win for Wout van Aert. The route is well suited for Jumbo-Visma, and they have the opportunity to attack the race as they have in other hilly days throughout the year. I think escapees will struggle due to the amount of sprint teams, but in a reduced group he can take a sprint win.

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Rúben Silva

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