Pascal Ackermann has vented his anger about not being selected for Bora-Hansgrohe's Tour de France squad, saying team manager Ralph Denk did not keep his word after promising him a place in this year’s race.
The German had been expected to line up alongside Peter Sagan as one of two Bora-Hansgrohe sprint options for the Tour. However, with Wilco Kelderman also targeting the general classification and Ackermann failing to win a race so far this season, he ultimately missed out on a place in the final eight-rider roster.
The German team announced their line-up on Tuesday, with Emanuel Buchmann, who finished fourth in 2019, to provide support and possible cover for Kelderman after his early exit from the Giro d'Italia.
Also on the start line in Brest on June 26 will be Sagan's trusted domestique Daniel Oss, Classics rider Nils Politt, Critérium du Dauphiné stage winner Lukas Pöstlberger, climber Patrick Konrad, and 23-year-old debutant Ide Schelling, who's enjoying a breakthrough season and won the recent GP des Kantons Aargau race.
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Ackerman was told he was not selected as he prepared to go training. He quickly ended his planned power training due to the disappointment.
"I'm more than disappointed, I have to say. Ralph was always a man who kept his word. But this time he definitely didn't do it," Ackerman told German website Radsport News.
"It was said that I would be doing the Tour for three years, and it was 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."
When Bora-Hansgrohe named their Tour de France team, Denk suggested that Ackermann is "not at the necessary level to make a successful Tour debut".
Ackerman won two stages and the points jersey at the 2019 Giro d'Italia and two stages at the 2020 Vuelta a España. He has a number of top-three placings this season but has yet to win a sprint and was third again in the final stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour won by Mark Cavendish.
"Of course there was no victory yet but that is no reason for me not being allowed to participate if the form is right. And it was right," Ackermann argued.
"If I knew that I'm not in shape, I would understand. But everyone knows, and you can see from the data, that the reason (for non-selection) is not my form. I can't understand the reason. And the team knows that too. That's why I'm so disappointed."
Tour de France selection is occasionally affected by rider transfers and Radsport News suggests Bora-Hansgrohe's decision to select Sagan and not Ackermann could ultimately indicate the three-time World Champion will stay with the team while Ackermann has been linked to a move to UAE Team Emirates.
Despite not being selected for the Tour de France, Ackermann is still due to ride the hilly German national championships in Stuttgart on Sunday.
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