Another highlight of the season for part of our team was the Velothon on Sunday. Alexander, Till, Daniel and I took part in the 120 km version of the race, while Manni and Bernd wanted to see Berlin on the short lap.
We used Saturday intensively to look at important parts of the race and to visit our sponsors Uvex and Multipower at the fair. In the evening, dinner with the team followed, followed by a tactical discussion by our sporting director Enrico Poitschke. Then we let the day end at the cup final and went to bed hoping that the weather forecast might not be entirely correct: it was supposed to be raining all the time.
Unfortunately, the meteorologists were right and there was sometimes very heavy rain. Therefore, we arrived at the starting block as soon as possible before the start. Even though we are perfectly equipped for these circumstances thanks to our outfitter Lawi, we still prefer to drive in the sunshine and so it was clear that we would be very far ahead throughout the race and would drive relatively cautiously. With a view to the upcoming tasks in the GCC, we just didn't want to risk a fall.
The motto for the first few kilometers of the race up to the Grunewald was: Ride in front and control the field, so there weren't any attacks worth mentioning up to that point. The VIP block around Erik Zabel was quickly swallowed up and from then on we left the city at a consistently high pace. There were repeated attacks and so Daniel and Till tried again and again to get ahead of the field, but in the end they didn't succeed. Attacks from other drivers, however, were repeatedly made by Alex and Till. Both of them did a lot of work to keep the race open for us. The rain and the water coming from everywhere made it difficult for all drivers and so we drove back to Berlin rather comfortably on the long federal road.
25 kilometers before the finish, I made the decisive move and was able to break away from the field with three other drivers. The field followed suit at first, but after Tempelhofer Feld we already had a 40-second lead, also thanks to Daniel controlling the pursuers. The group harmonized and we were then able to steadily increase our lead. What I didn't know at the time was that I was ultimately the only remaining Merkur-Druck.com driver. First Daniel was damaged. Although he swapped bikes with Alex, he had to let the chasing group go. In addition, Till's race was over after that due to two flat tires.
In the last ten kilometers the leading group was decimated more and more and at the main station, three kilometers before the finish, I used the last bridge to distance the last remaining driver, Daniel Rhein, who drove a strong race. At that point, the field was out of sight and I turned onto the long home straight in my hometown alone. I was able to win for the team and reward us for the great race. Ultimately, it was shown again that we are very well positioned and prepared within the team to deliver these performances every weekend.
On Saturday we hope for another successful race when the next GCC race is scheduled for the Hockenheimring.
Until then, Stephen