Frankfurt Classic Opens The German Races In May
Team-MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung is looking forward to the major cycling highlights in Germany this May. On Wednesday the traditional classic race Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt is the first of several important races in Gerald Ciolek’s home country. The Milan-San Remo winner, along with compatriots Andreas Stauff and sport director Jens Zemke, will lead the first African Professional Continental team in the top-ranked races Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt (May 1), Rund um Köln (May 12) and the Bayern Rundfahrt (May 22-26).
“Team MTN-Qhubeka is really looking forward to the month of May and focusing on the races in Frankfurt, Cologne and the Bayern Rundfahrt,” said team principal, Douglas Ryder. “The German people love travelling to Africa and South Africa and we have many fans of our team in Germany so we will want to spread the word of our Qhubeka Bikes 4 Life project and show Germany that an African cycling team exists that races to help people in South Africa.
“Personally, I have a close connection to Germany as my mother was born in Bayreuth and I raced and lived in Cologne in 1993 and 1994. Our lead rider Gerald Ciolek and our head sport director Jens Zemke are also both German and they have made such an impact on our team.”
For Sport Director Jens Zemke, the German race in Frankfurt is something special. “Frankfurt is my hometown and I am very proud to write further history with this great team. It is the first start in the Frankfurt classic for us. Our team is very popular in Germany and the many fans will cheer us on,” he said.
“We won’t need any additional motivation. Gerald and Andreas can’t wait for their first race at home. That will be a fantastic sports experience in which we want to impress the peloton. It is an honour for all of us to bring an African dream to Germany.”
Zemke has been closely tied to the classic in Frankfurt since the beginning of his cycling career. The former pro was at the start of the race 24 times, from his junior days until he ended his career in 2001. He had his last highlight in the race in 2011 when, as sport director of HTC-Highroad, he guided local rider John Degenkolb to the win.
In addition to Ciolek and Stauff, South African’s Dennis van Niekerk, Johann van Zyl and Louis Meintjes will form part of the line up, as well as Eritrean Meron Russom, Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay and Italian Kristian Sbaragli.
In Frankfurt, Team MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung will meet strong riders from eight WorldTour teams. Most of the top German riders, including Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) will be at the start. The start of the difficult one-day race will be in the Frankfurt suburb of Eschborn. From there it spends 200 challenging kilometers in the famous climbs of the Taunus before the winner will be crowned in front of the Alten Oper in downtown Frankfurt.
Race information: www.eschborn-frankfurt.de.
Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt (Germany) – (May 1 / UCI 1.HC):
Andreas Stauff (GER), Dennis van Niekerk (RSA), Louis Meintjes (RSA), Gerald Ciolek (GER), Johann van Zyl (RSA), Meron Russom (ETH), Tsgabu Grmay (ERI), Kristian Sbaragli (ITA).
Staff: Jens Zemke (Directeur Sportif), Bastian Büffel (Soigneur), Olaf Warko (Soigneur), Heiko Heinrici (Mechanic), Werner Lenk (Mechanic).