Pascal Ackermann is furious about missing the Tour de France
When Bora-Hansgrohe announced its team for the upcoming Tour de France on Tuesday it did so with Wilco Kelderman and Peter Sagan as its headliners. Emanuel Buchmann was named to the squad too, in what will be his first race back since crashing out of the Giro d’Italia with a concussion.
Conspicuously absent from the line-up though was one Pascal Ackermann, dual-stage and points classification winner at the 2019 Giro d’Italia. And the German sprinter was far from happy about his omission.
“I am more than disappointed, I have to say,” Ackermann told German website radsport-news.com. “Ralph [Denk, team manager] was always a man who kept his word. But this time he definitely did not do it.
“It was said that I will be doing the Tour for three years. And it is always the case that I shouldn’t worry about it. Without this promise, I would not have signed the contract back then. You have to see that too. That’s why I am extremely disappointed.”
Denk’s explanation for Ackermann’s omission was simple: “Ultimately, we believed that Pascal is not at the necessary level to make a successful Tour premiere,” he said in the team announcement. “Therefore he didn’t make it into the squad.”
A quick look at Ackermann’s results for the season lend some credence to Denk’s view – the 27-year-old is without a win so far in 2021. His best results: five third-place finishes, most recently on the final stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour (behind Mark Cavendish and Tim Merlier). His last win came on the final stage of last year’s Vuelta a España.
But Ackermann argues that a lack of wins doesn’t tell the full story.
“Of course there was no victory now, but that is no reason for me not to be allowed to participate if the form is right. And it was right,” Ackermann told radsport-news.com. “If I knew that I’m not in shape, I would understand. But everyone knows, and you can see that from the data, that it’s definitely not the shape. I can’t understand this reason. He [Denk] knows that and the team knows that too. That’s why I’m so disappointed.”
Ackermann’s contract with Bora-Hansgrohe concludes at the end of 2021, and given the tone of his recent comments, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him move on. Indeed, some outlets have already linked Ackermann with UAE Team Emirates for 2022. Could that be a factor in Ackermann’s omission from the Tour team? It’s hard to say, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.
Regardless Bora-Hansgrohe goes into the Tour de France with several prizes in mind: a stage victory, and top five on the final GC (through Kelderman). Of course, Sagan will be targeting a record-extending eighth green jersey as well, but Denk suggests that “will be a tough battle”.
The 2021 Tour de France begins on Saturday June 26. Stay posted to CyclingTips for daily coverage.