Team BikeExchange did as they promised and went on the offensive at Eschborn-Frankfurt before teeing up Michael Matthews for a top-10 finish in the sprint finale.
The squad placed Luke Durbridge in the early breakaway move of five, with the escapees going on to open an advantage of more than three minutes before the peloton pegged them back.
As the gap began to tumble, Team BikeExchange made their way to the front of the pack and ramped up the tempo, firstly with Lucas Hamilton then with Nick Schultz and Rob Stannard applying the pressure. The race then burst into life with 60km to go as Matthews attacked over the top of the Mammolshain climb.
The 30-year-old drew a select group clear with teammates Hamilton for company and Durbridge still clinging on after his exploits in the initial breakaway. However, despite their best efforts, the gap back to the peloton never exceeded more than 40 seconds, with a host of teams keen to bring it back together for a sprint.
As the last of the group were reeled back in inside the final 10km, Team BikeExchange powered to the front as they refocussed on the upcoming sprint. Luka Mezgec surged to the head of the field underneath the one kilometre to go banner with Matthews in tow, but as the sprint opened up, the former second place finisher was left with nowhere to go, crossing the line in ninth.
“We obviously wanted to make it a hard race, we put Durbo in the breakaway to make sure we had someone up the road if any guys were going across. Once we started the big lap, we were already firing guys up the road to make it hard for the sprinters.
Then on the second to last lap I decided to attack and got a nice group going, but there weren’t many people wanting to work with us to help it stay away and so around 20km to go we got caught.
In the end I had no legs left for the sprint but I gave it a go anyway and I think it’s good signs for things to come.”
2021 Eschborn-Frankfurt – Results:
1. Jasper Philipsen 4:28:03
2. John Degenkolb ST
3. Alexander Kristoff ST
9. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) ST
Photo Courtesy of Getty Sport.
— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com