2022 BEMER Cyclassics Preview

Hamburg > Hamburg 204.6km

After 2 years off the calendar, the race returns and it’s a familiar looking route. Usually one for the fast men, Viviani has won the last three editions, but the finale always ensures the group is reduced to around 50 riders. Will this year follow the same path?

Weather

Pleasant temperatures, and there’s a little bit of wind around, but it shouldn’t cause any problems.

The Climb

The Waseberg is the main climb of the day, it’s covered on three occasions. The first time is after 140km of racing, so it’s too far out for any action, but the final two ascents crest with 25km and 17km to go respectively. The approach to the climb is very narrow, and incredibly fast, then the bunch swing left and hit the climb. 800m at 9.2% is tough, but if you look at the previous winners of this race, it ends in a sprint. Will someone write a different script for this year’s edition?

Finale

Wide roads and very straightforward.

Tactics

What do Jumbo-Visma want to do? We have some of the fastest sprinters in the world at this race, but will the Dutch squad be happy riding for a reduced sprint with them still in the bunch? Surely they will look to make the last two ascents of the climb very difficult and put the likes of Ewan and Jakobsen under pressure. 

If they smash the climb, we’ve seen on a number of occasions they have the power to put most under pressure. One slight issue will be Jasper Philipsen, he’ll be confident of surviving the climb, even though he’s just finished the Tour of Denmark. His presence could see Jumbo-Visma try to set up a Van Aert solo move, just like he did in the Tour de France. The good news is that it’s a tailwind from the crest of the final climb until the finish, but can Wout hold off the chasing pack for 16km? 

Going for a solo win is the dangerous tactic, riding for a significantly reduced sprint is the safe option. If they can line the bunch out on the narrow approach to the final climb, it is possible to use the steep slopes to blow the bunch apart. It will be a case of hitting the climb as hard as possible, then taking stock at the top. If a small group goes clear with Van Aert, he’ll need a teammate to help him as no one will want to work. If he gets away solo, we’ll see if the peloton are strong enough to bring him back.

Contenders

Wout Van Aert – after another amazing Tour de France, Wout is back with his eyes on the world championship. They’ve decided to change his schedule into that race compared to previous years, this time it’s four one-day races to get his legs ready for the big one. He’s not raced for close to a month, but he’s always good at the start of a block. 

Jasper Philipsen – the Tour of Denmark was hard, Philipsen could be a little tired. Normally, this would be an excellent race for him, a reduced sprint plays right into his hands. 

Fabio Jakobsen – his first race in the Euro champion jersey, that will be nice to see. He’s one of the riders that Jumbo-Visma will try to put under pressure, they would like to take the edge off his sprint. On paper, he’s got the best sprint train in the race, but only if they survive the final climb. 

Caleb Ewan – Lotto Soudal would love for him to take big points, but his form isn’t great. He got through the Tour de France, without winning, and was a DNF in his first race afterwards. 2022 hasn’t been a great year for Caleb, but all of that could be changed in the next month. The world championships are in Australia, he would love to win the rainbow jersey on home soil, but he needs to find the legs he had at last year’s Milan-Sanremo.

Arnaud Démare – it’s been a great year for Démare, he’s won many races and has achieved a high level of consistency throughout. Winning this race will be hard for him, I don’t think he’s fast enough to beat Van Aert in a sprint, but he should be challenging for the podium.

Dylan Groenewegen – got his win in the Tour de France, so the season has been a good one. He returned to racing in Norway and took another stage win in that race, so he arrives here with confidence. He’s another fast man that Jumbo-Visma will want to put into difficulty, I’m not sure he’ll be able to survive the final climb.

Elia Viviani – can he make it four consecutive wins? I doubt it.

Prediction Time

I’m hoping Jumbo-Visma go for the same move they pulled in Paris-Nice and the Tour de France. Line it out on the approach to the final climb of the Waseberg, then sprint up the climb as fast as possible, launching Wout at the top and see what damage is done. It’s that or set a fast pace on the climb and roll the dice in a reduced sprint. Whatever happens, I’m taking Wout Van Aert for the win.

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