The German team announced their eight-man line-up on Tuesday morning, 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 riders 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.
Kelderman will lead the team's general classification ambitions, while Sagan will compete in the sprints and try to win the points classification to capture an eighth green jersey.
The three-time world champion, who won the points classification at the recent Giro d'Italia, will have free reign in the bunch finishes given the absence of Ackermann, who hasn't won a race this season and will have to wait another year for his Tour debut – possibly with another team after being linked with a move away for 2022.
"This year it was not an easy decision by any means," said team manager Ralph Denk.
"Emu became an option only last week and we also thought about bringing two sprinters with Ackermann and Sagan. Ultimately, we believed that Pascal is not at the necessary level to make a successful Tour premiere and therefore he didn’t make it into the squad."
Kelderman finished on the podium at the Giro d'Italia in 2020 and fourth at the Vuelta a España in 2017 but has yet to leave his mark on the Tour, placing 79th in 2015, 32nd in 2016, and crashing out in 2019. He joined Bora-Hansgrohe from Team DSM over the winter and, despite setbacks through crashes, has had a fine start with the German team, placing fifth at Volta a Catalunya, 10th at Tour de Romandie, and fourth at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Buchmann, who made his breakthrough at the 2019 Tour, was sitting in the top 10 at the Giro last month when he crashed out on stage 15, and has been deemed fit enough to support Kelderman while also providing a back-up option for stage wins or even the overall. Konrad is the other member of the high-mountain trio.
Oss and Pöstlberger will be expected to work for Sagan in the finales of the flatter stages, while Politt and Schelling should have more freedom to hunt breakaways, although all may be needed if the team repeat last year's efforts of trying to shed the peloton of pure sprinters on the hillier stages.
"Our goals are a stage win and a top five in the final GC. Of course, we also have the green jersey in our sights, but it will be a tough battle. With those goals in mind, our leaders will be Wilco for GC and Peter for the sprints and undulating stages. At his side will be Daniel Oss yet again," said Denk.
"Regarding Emu, I have already stated that he will be free to take his chances if the moment comes, however, Patrick will also receive his own opportunities. Of course, he will be important to Wilco in the mountains. Overall, we want to ride offensively at the Tour and with Nils, Lukas and Ide we have riders who can do well on almost all terrain, yet also have the class to take a stage from a break.
"I am very happy that one of our young guns, Ide, who only turned pro with us last year, is already lining up for the Tour. He has developed really well over the last month and put himself into that position with strong results."
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