• Alexander Kristoff takes the 2018 win ahead of Australia's Michael Matthews. (Getty)Source: Getty
Do you serve it with mustard? Or drink it with beer?
By
Cycling Central

30 Apr 2019 - 1:19 PM  UPDATED 30 Apr 2019 - 1:33 PM

You COULD serve it with beer if you're on the #couchpeloton but of course we're talking about a bike race!

Take a trip with us to Germany's Frankfurt region on Wednesday night, LIVE streaming from 8pm AEST via SBS On Demand before SBS VICELAND from 11.50pm AEST.

Hopefully, we get to see a good German Schloss or two but will undoubtedly spot some beautiful scenery. 

Here's a bit more about the race.

Born in 1962. But is it a Classic? 

Once billed (by organisers) as the 'grand final' of the spring Classics season, it's technically not a big 'c' classic,  although confusion reigns over what that means, there's no official definition. 

Old, long (250km+), hard, bergy if it's not Roubaix, cobbles if you're lucky - and as always, any potential new fan of the sport is left scratching their head and piecing together information from various Google ranked sites.

What is clear-cut are the five Monuments (which are also big 'c' Classics): Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Giro di Lombardia (an autumn Classic just for laughs).

Eschborn-Frankfurt is not one of those and it's no Amstel Gold either - especially this year's edition - because it's shorter.  

Still with us? 

Let's just say it is Germany's spring small 'c' classic poised nicely at the end of the jaunt through the Ardennes - and on the May Day public holiday - and has a 58-year-history not to be sniffed at.

Oh, and like any good semi or big 'c' classic worth its salt, it's got big glasses of podium beer.

Pass the pretzel!

Despite recently ending in bunch sprints, Eschborn-Frankfurt does bring the 'bergs' and this year features 3,200 metres of elevation over eight climbs including four ascents of the Mammolshain (2.3km at 8.2 per cent) which at one point hits a maximum of 23 per cent.

Gulp.  

Sit back and enjoy the beautiful Taunus mountains while the peloton hurts - you won't miss a climb on the live stream via SBS On Demand from 8pm AEST. The TV coverage on SBS VICELAND kicks in just as the peloton reaches downtown Frankfurt around 40 kilometres from the finish.

The start list - Alexander Kristoff v Michael Matthews v who's who of German cycling

Added to the calendar in 2017, it's one of the 10 or so UCI WorldTour races that doesn't require compulsory attendance of all 18 WorldTour teams.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step, Groupama FDJ, Ineos (formerly Sky), Jumbo Visma, Mitchelton-Scott and Movistar will sit this one out as they have other bratwurst to barbecue.

Eschborn-Frankfurt has Alexander Kristoff's name written all over it - a record four times in a row. It's a race the Norwegian sometimes saves his early season with, but not this year - he's already bagged Gent-Wevelgem and a third at Flanders. 

Michael Matthews finished second last year and hits the start with three other Sunweb Aussies in tow - Rob Power, Chris Hamilton and Jai Hindley. 

The other Australians set to start: James Whelan, Simon Clarke (EF Education First), Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain Merida), and Rory Sutherland (UAE). Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) and Nathan Haas (Katusha) are down as reserves. 

That's not quite the alternative Australian road championships but this race could be Germany's with a number of high profile hitters hailing from the host nation including John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Andre Greipel (Arkea Samsic), Pascal Ackermann, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe), and Nils Politt (Katusha).

Fresh from his breakout performance as runner-up at Paris-Roubaix, Politt wants to crack the Eschborn-Frankfurt nut. 

“I’m in the form of my life. But after Roubaix, I (was) also glad to take a short break and to recover. I’ll be fresh again on time for Eschborn-Frankfurt. It would be great to get my first classic victory in front of a German audience." 

And Degenkolb also wants another win to go with his 2011 Eschborn-Frankfurt victory especially as he sat out last year's edition (third in 2017). 

"I'm looking forward to the cycling classic every year and luckily, I have some rest now and can prepare myself ideally. And no one would be happier than me if the German fans could celebrate a home victory this year. But it will not be easy, but of course, I will do anything for it.”

Terrorist plot cancelled the 2015 edition 

Kristoff's four consecutive Eschborn-Frankfurt victories came in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 skipping the 2015 edition after it was cancelled because of a terrorist plot.

The day before the race, two people were arrested in connection with the plan and police found bomb-making equipment in their apartment in Oberursel, a town along the route of Eschborn-Frankfurt. 

Authorities called off the race due to "indications of a possible threat to the population."

On a happier note:

Australian Phil Anderson won it twice

The first non-European to wear the Tour's yellow jersey, Australian Phil Anderson won the race in 1984 and 1985. Skippy finished second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege that year, winning the Amstel Gold the year before. 

...and Eddy Merckx in 1971

The Eschborn-Frankfurt honour roll shows the race is held in high esteem by some of the sport's biggest stars and one-day specialists despite the non-big 'c' classic status. Merckx' Belgian rival Freddy Maertens also won in 1976 while the first German to win Flanders (1964) and Milan-San Remo (1968) Rudi Altig triumphed in 1970.

Another German winner of Milan-San Remo Erik Zabel won Eschborn-Frankfurt in 1999, 2002, and 2005 and held the record for most wins before Kristoff's 2018 victory. 

Who's your pick for 2019? 

Watch all the Eschborn-Frankfurt action unfold live via SBS On Demand from 8pm AEST before SBS VICELAND from 11.50pm AEST, Wednesday 1 May.