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From worldtour races to everyman circuit

Cycling city Frankfurt

13 Jun 2023

The Main metropolis has a long cycling tradition. Since 1962, it has been the venue for the one-day race "Rund um den Henninger-Turm" (today "Eschborn-Frankfurt"), it was the starting point of the Tour de France, and in the "Bembel Crit" at EUROBIKE, the starters battle on a challenging circuit around the large cider tankard trophy.

In terms of cycling, Frankfurt is associated with big names, for example Rudi Altig, Eddy Merckx, Erik Zabel, Pascal Ackermann or John Degenkolb. They were all winners of the road cycling race Eschborn-Frankfurt, which is one of the most important German one-day races along with Rund um Köln and the Cyclassics Hamburg. World-famous until 2007 under the name "Rund um den Henninger-Turm," it was first renamed "Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop" and then "Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt" due to a change in sponsors. Since 2018, the race held on May 1 has been called "Eschborn-Frankfurt".

Five times two mountains

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The 200-kilometer Eschborn-Frankfurt course takes the elite field through Frankfurt and, above all, through the Taunus mountains - with a total of 3,000 meters of elevation gain. This year, the Feldberg (862 m) and the Mammolshain (371 m) had to be conquered two and three times respectively. "To make the race more open again, we found new Taunus challenges. The second climb to the Feldberg can make the difference! With the Mammolshainer, there is now more than 15 kilometers of challenging climbing exactly at the halfway point. A perfect ramp to split the peloton," explains Eschborn-Frankfurt's sporting director Fabian Wegmann, who has won the race twice himself (2009, 2010). Professional cyclist John Degenkolb has also been on the podium in Frankfurt several times: in 2011 as the winner and then three times in second place. As a Frankfurt native, the race is a home game for "Dege", who has won Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo, among others: "It's always something special to enter the race as a local hero. As always, it will be a great pleasure with the many friends, family and familiar faces along the route."

Ride like the pros for once

Ambitious hobby riders also have May 1 marked thick in their calendars. They can choose between three route lengths and start a few hours before the pros on the closed-off roads. For those who train regularly and are used to riding in a group, the Škoda Velotour, the name of the everyman edition of the race, should be no problem.

"Allez Allez" in Frankfurt

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Even before John Degenkolb and Fabian Wegmann could even dream of cycling careers, the world's most famous cycling race also stopped off in the Main metropolis. In 1980, the prologue and two half stages of the 67th Tour de France took place in Frankfurt. With the slogan "From the Henninger Tower to the Eiffel Tower," the city advertised the major event on glasses, beer mats, posters, mugs and the like.

It's all about the cider tankard trophy

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Speaking of jugs: on Saturday, June 24, during the EUROBIKE FESTIVAL DAYS, the Bembel Crit race will take place at the trade fair. For all non-Hessians: "Bembel" is the name of the thick, gray vessels in which the famous cider is served. The women and men competing in the elite and hobby classes can win one of these. Also planned are U11 and U13 starts and a fixed-gear race (that is, on wheels with a rigid hub). "Crit" is the abbreviation for "Critérium" and refers to a bicycle race that leads over a circular course for a certain number of laps - in the case of the Bembel Crit, the course length is 1.7 kilometers. In cooperation with the RSG Frankfurt, the Bembel Crit takes place in front of a large backdrop at the exhibition grounds. Former cyclist and sports presenter Sebastian Paddags will be commentating on the event, which is likely to generate enthusiasm among riders and spectators alike.