Mann-splaining: How to tell the difference between Germany’s top male cyclists
I’ll be honest — I often get Pascal Ackermann, Max Schachmann and Emanuel Buchmann mixed up. I know they don’t look the same, but they all race for the same team (Bora-Hansgrohe) and their names are similar enough that when I try to remember who won what race, who’s racing where, and who’s good at what, I often get myself confused.
Are you the same? If so, the following post should help you separate your Ackermanns from your Schachmanns. If you already know who’s who, well, first of all, congratulations; second, this post probably isn’t for you. Oh, and if you don’t like silly mnemonic devices or very bad (but useful!) puns, I’d also recommend turning back now.
Pascal Ackermann (“A-ker-munn”)
Rider type: Sprinter
Biggest win so far: 2 x Giro d’Italia stage (2019)
Been watching the Giro d’Italia? Ackermann is the rider who won stage 2 and stage 4, the former in the German champion’s jersey, the latter in the pouring rain while wearing the maglia ciclamino (purple jersey of the points classification leader).
Ackermann is an up-and-coming sprinter who’s really made a breakthrough in the past 12 months. In that time he’s won a stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, the RideLondon-Surrey Classic, two stages of Tour of Poland, the Eschborn-Frankfurt WorldTour race, and, as mentioned, two stages of the Giro (so far).
How to remember him: A pascal is a unit of pressure or stress. Sprinters face plenty of pressure and stress at the end of the race, as Pascal Ackermann knows all too well.
Maximilian Schachmann (“Shuck-munn”)
Rider type: All-rounder
Biggest win so far: 1 x Giro d’Italia stage (2018)
Did you catch the Mt. Baldy stage of the recent Amgen Tour of California? Schachmann was the rider that attacked late to bridge to the leaders then went solo. Did you watch any of the Ardennes Classics? Schachmann was fifth at Amstel Gold, fifth at Fleche-Wallonne, and third at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Remember stage 18 of last year’s Giro d’Italia, when Ruben Plaza caught the last rider in the breakaway and nearly won the stage? That rider was Schachmann — then riding for QuickStep — who took his first Grand Tour stage win.
All of the results mentioned above were achieved on hilly terrain, so too Schachmann’s two wins at the Volta a Catalunya, and three stages at this year’s Tour of the Basque Country. Schachmann isn’t a pure climber though — he won a time trial at the Tour of the Basque Country in early 2019. Think of him more of as an all-rounder who’s very handy uphill.
How to remember him: Having MAXimised his abilities in a number of disciplines, the world is SHUCK-man’s oyster.
Emanuel Buchmann (“Book-munn”)
Rider type: Climber
Biggest win so far: 1 x Tour of the Basque Country stage win
Of the three riders mentioned here, Buchmann is the rider with perhaps the biggest potential when it comes to GC riding. He’s been third and fourth overall at the Tour of the Basque Country, fourth at the UAE Tour, sixth at the Dauphine and was a solid 15th at the Tour de France in 2017.
While roughly the same height as Ackermann and Schachmann, Buchmann is noticeably leaner — he’s the climber of the three.
How to remember him: Emanuel Buchmann is a climber. Climbers that want to do well need to study a race’s roadBOOK to know exactly how long the climbs are.
Mastered all of the above? Great. For bonus credit, here’s Michael Schwarzmann. He might lack the results of the riders we’ve mentioned already, but he also rides for Bora-Hansgrohe and has a similar surname.
Michael Schwarzmann (“Shvartz-munn”)
Rider type: Lead-out man/sprinter
Biggest win so far: 1 x Tour d’Azerbaidjan stage (2016)
Schwarzmann isn’t a big name (well, except in length) but he’s certainly no slouch. He’s a fast-finisher that’s come close to a couple of big wins in the past — he’s been in the top seven on four different stages at the Vuelta a España, including second on a stage in 2016.
If you’ve been watching the Giro you would have seen Schwarzmann on lead-out duties for Pascal Ackermann in the sprint finishes.
How to remember him: “Schwarz” is the German word for “black”. In a sprint finish against the world’s best, Schwarzmann would be something of a dark horse.
So there you go. A guide to separating the top “Männer” of German cycling. Hopefully you’ve learned something, or at least had a bit of a chuckle along the way.