Pascal Ackermann: Why he does not ride the Tour de France
Pascal Ackermann, 25 years old, is one of the greatest German cycling talents. Since 2017, the native Palatine has been driving for the German team Bora-hansgrohe. Since then he has had some success: in 2018 he became German champion, in the last Giro d'Italia he won the jersey of the best sprinter. Shortly before the interview, he won a stage at the Tour of Slovenia.
MIRROR ONLINE: Mr Ackermann, this year's Giro d'Italia was your first Grand Tour. In the end you won two stage victories and the sprint jersey - the first German in the history of the Giro. Were you surprised by yourself? Or did you secretly expect such a success?
Ackermann: Well, we stole a stage because the absolute world class was there. Everything that has rank and name. That's why you can not set your goals so high. That's why I was quite surprised by my second victory.
MIRROR ONLINE: The sprinter jersey took you back on the 18th stage. In the sprint in Santa Maria di Sala you finished second and were only disappointed in the air. It was only after the race that you were informed that you had taken the sprinter jersey again from the Frenchman Arnaud Démare. Did not you expect that?
Ackermann: But, we had calculated the points before that went back and forth. We said, actually I have to win so I can get the jersey back. I did not look behind and thought Démare had finished third. Then I was annoyed animal that I did not get back the jersey because of such a small piece. We only saw afterwards that he did not finish third but eighth and that we have the jersey again.
MIRROR ONLINE: As a sprinter you are especially responsible. The whole team drives 200 kilometers just for you and in the end, a few inches decide whether you may disappoint your teammates or celebrate together at the end. How do you handle this pressure as a relatively young driver?
Ackermann: For me it is always more motivation when I see how the team works. I want to give that back. It motivates me when I see that we drive the last ten, fifteen kilometers from the front. That makes me stronger when I see how strong the team is. But I'm not worried about the fact that I have to win in the race. That would just drive me crazy.
MIRROR ONLINE: The former German top sprinter Marcel Kittel takes a break, André Greipel also drives towards the end of his career. Before the Giro you said, in two years, the generation change is possible. Did not you manage that already by the success with the Giro?
Ackermann: I definitely do not write the two. You know what they have achieved. So I think they can come back again. I would wish that too. The two were always my idols. Those are just the Germans who have won tour stages while I sat in front of the TV. That would be cool if there were duels between us again.
MIRROR ONLINE: Your team boss Ralph Denk has promised you the debut of the Tour de France for next year. Now you are in such good shape, are not you a little bit angry, that this year will not work?
Ackermann: Of course it is a dream to drive there. But the giro was so tough that I'm glad I did not ride another three week tour. That would be too early. We have prioritized the Giro. You can not just rebuild and say: we'll take that with us now.
6 imagesProfessional cyclist Pascal Ackermann: The man for the home straight
MIRROR ONLINE: But for next year is that a goal?
Ackermann: In any case. But we have not talked about planning for the next year, it will not be until November.
MIRROR ONLINE: What's your other program this season? Are you in the third Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España?
Ackermann: No, I am not at the start of the Vuelta. I'm going to the German Championships on the 30th of June, then I go for a week into the summer break. In August, we continue with the Tour of Poland and then the Hamburg Cyclassics and the Germany tour are on. These are my goals for this year. I still have an invoice with Hamburg. I definitely want to win there. I fell in the final last year.
MIRROR ONLINE: At the Giro, they also fell, with grazes and torn jersey you have tormented the Zeil. Some time ago Chris Froome broke several bones during a training accident. Irish pro Dan Martin later said Froome could have been dead. How do you deal with this?
Ackermann: I was on vacation at the time and did not hear that at all because I simply switched off after the giro and did not want to know anything about cycling. Sure, the risk always goes along. But you can just as well slip off the stairs at home. The risk is not higher in cycling than in normal working life.
MIRROR ONLINE: How do you deal with the fear of falling a few inches off the track barrier at speed 70 and injuring yourself?
Ackermann: You can not think about that. There's no time for that either. As soon as you think: Oh, now it could be tight, you brake and the sprint is lost.