Sam Bennett (Bora Argon 18) will line up in Bayern Rundfahrt which starts today, and will hope for similar success that he achieved in last year’s edition. The UCI 2.HC race is the home race for Bennett’s team, so they will be hopeful of a good performance during the week.
The race starts off with a 221-kilometre stage from Regensburg to Waldsassen, which includes the Category 1 climbs of Tännesberg and Erbendorf / Hessenreuther Berg. However, the second climb is 80 kilometres from the finish, so it may be far enough from the finish to allow dropped riders to get back on.
The following day’s 180-kilometre stage from Waldsassen to Selb also has two Cat. 1 climbs but once again may favour sprinters, as there’s a long distance from the second climb to the finish. Friday’s third stage is similar again with a number of climbs to be tackled, but it is the fourth stage which may be the most influential with regard to GC, as the riders will face a 26-kilometre time-trial.
The final stage of 198 kilometres will also be important for GC contenders as the finishing circuit in Nürnberg includes a Category II climb, and the riders will have to tackle this five times.
In last year’s race, Bennett took victory on the final stage of the race ahead of Yauheni Hutarovich and Raymond Kreder. In addition, he also won the sprints classification. This year, he can expect some tough competition from Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin), amongst others.
Last year’s overall win went to Geraint Thomas, but Team Sky aren’t returning to the race this year. Another Briton, Alex Dowsett, can be expected to do well in the time-trial, having recently broken the World Hour Record.