Vattenfall Cyclassics (GER) - 16.08.2009
The Vattenfall Cyclassics one-day race in Hamburg, Germany, is one of the youngest one-day road races in the UCI ProTour. However, it has rapidly become one of the best days of cycling in the world because it combines an exciting professional race with a day of cycling for everyone who loves two-wheels.
The professional riders compete over a distance of 225km, while 20,000 every-day cyclists enjoy riding on the finishing circuit of the professional race in a demonstration of a shared enthusiasm for cycling. For at least one day of the year in Hamburg, cyclists really do rule the road. So-called velothon rides are very popular in Germany with others planned across the country, including one in Berlin that is open to 15,000 cyclists. Cycling in Germany has suffered in recent times but the huge numbers of people still riding their bikes, shows the sport has huge potential and always creates huge interest.
The Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg race is not an especially hilly race but the riders always keep up the tension with fierce attacks as the race returns from the banks of the river Elbe. The bunch chases them down but does not always catch them.
In 2007 Italyâ€™s Alessandro Ballan, who is reigning World Champion after his success in Varese, won with a surprise and very strong attack in the final kilometre. In 2008 the Australians dominated the podium with Robbie McEwen beating compatriots Mark Renshaw and Allan Davis. It was the first time Australian riders filled the podium of a UCI ProTour race and yet another indication of the unstoppable globalisation of professional cycling.