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Tour de France

Tour de France: Peter Sagan and Wilco Kelderman lead Bora-Hansgrohe challenge

Bora-Hansgrohe attack sprint and GC competitions at the Tour de France with Peter Sagan and Wilco Kelderman.

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Peter Sagan and Wilco Kelderman will spearhead Bora-Hansgrohe’s two-pronged attack on the Tour de France this summer.

Kelderman will lead the charge in the GC challenge, while Sagan is aiming to back up his recent success in the Giro d’Italia with stage wins and a return to the Paris podium in green.

Sagan has not raced since his ride at the Giro d’Italia where he won stage 10 into Foligno and laid claim to the ciclamino points jersey. He will want to make it two-out-of-two points competitions after he was beaten to green by Sam Bennett at last year’s Tour de France.

Also read: How will Peter Sagan’s Giro d’Italia impact his future this season and beyond?

Kelderman — who joined Bora-Hansgrohe from Team Sunweb over the winter — returns to the Tour de France after a two-year break from the French grand tour. The Dutchman fractured his vertebrae when he was hit by a car during a training camp in January but has recovered well and finished fourth at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné.

“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,” team manager Ralph Denk said.

Places in Bora-Hansgrohe’s French eight were tough to win and German sprinter Pascal Ackermann will have to wait at least another year before he gets the nod for his Tour de France debut. The 27-year-old has failed to score a win so far this year, the longest he has had to wait for victory since his WorldTour debut in 2017.

Rather than a brace of fast men, the team has opted to take climber Emanuel Buchmann — who crashed out of the Giro d’Italia at the end of the second week. A late addition to the line-up, Buchmann will initially play a support role for Kelderman but could become a GC contender if he goes well early on.

Patrick Konrad has also been brought in to aid Kelderman in the mountains, while Daniel Oss will resume his role as Sagan’s right-hand man. Lukas Pöstlberger, Nils Politt, and Ide Schelling will complete the line-up.

Also read: Wilco Kelderman sustains fractured vertebrae in Bora-Hansgrohe training crash

“This year it was not an easy decision by any means. 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,” Denk said.

“Overall, we want to ride offensively at the Tour, and with Nils, Lukas, and Ide we have riders who can do well on almost [any] 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.”

Bora-Hansgrohe Tour de France line-up: Emanuel Buchmann, Wilco Kelderman, Patrick Konrad, Daniel Oss, Lukas Pöstlberger, Nils Politt, Peter Sagan, Ide Schelling.