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Press Releases | 22.09.2019

Pascal Ackermann fights to the last centimetre to take second as fast men frustrated at Primus Classic

The Primus Classic featured the terrain of a spring classic, but at the end of summer, its 197km profile dotted with fifteen short and steep climbs – enough to sap energy from the legs of the toughest all-rounder – before the flat finish in Haacht. While the smooth Belgian roads would make the kilometres pass faster, there were many times along the route where the riders would travel through built-up areas, bringing with them street furniture, speed bumps and twisting roads, ready to catch out the unwary, while some of the climbs even featured cobblestones to make the gradients approaching 20% that much harder. The moment the race got underway, the climbing began, but this didn’t dampen the ambitions of the day’s breakaway. Five riders forged ahead and built up their lead on the peloton, but the fast roads made it difficult for the escapees to put much more than three minutes between themselves and the peloton – and with the likes of BORA-hansgrohe’s Marcus Burghardt, Pascal Ackermann and Michael Schwarzmann pushing the pace, the gap only shrank. After sweeping up the break with a little more than 40km to go, a duo went off the front, chased by Peter Sagan and Pascal, and while this group was unable to make the catch, it was clear the entire BORA-hansgrohe squad was on form – riding on the front and keeping the break less than a minute in front, before ramping up the pace in the closing kilometres, driving down the gap and making the catch with 8km to go – perfect timing for a bunch sprint. However, in a change to the script, a solo rider tried to frustrate the fast men, and as the kilometres turned into metres, Pascal Ackermann took matters into his own hands and started his sprint. Grimacing every last metre, the result came down to centimetre, the German rider clearly in anguish having sprinted from so far out to try to take the win. While he had to settle for second, it was clear Pascal had the power and speed to take the win today.

 

Results

 

01        E.Theuns                    4h36’42”

02        P.Ackermann                 +0:00

03        J.De Buyst                     +0:00

 

From the Finish Line

 

"It was again a very close finish but Theuns managed to hold on. I might have started my sprint a bit late but I think it was clear I had very good legs and the team had done an excellent job throughout the race. We were in all the groups, we were present in all race situations and in my view, we did everything right today. It is, obviously, a bit disappointing to finish second so close behind the winner, but I think we can be happy with our result and our work today. It wasn't an easy race with all the climbs and the tough start until the break formed but we had a strong team and we executed the plan we had. In my view, we are all strong ahead of the World Championship next week and I hope one of us takes the rainbow jersey." – Pascal Ackermann

 

"We had a good race today and although we missed victory by a very small margin we can be satisfied with our performance. We executed the plan we had, I was in the front group in the final climbs and responded to all the attacks while in the final kilometres I pulled to bridge the gap to Theuns. Congratulations to Pascal for his result, he was the fastest sprinter today. We'll try again tomorrow." – Peter Sagan

 

"I think the guys worked, once again, very well together. Everybody contributed and Peter was as well active in the middle part of the race to try and cover the attacks. Unfortunately, in the final straight we didn't have the strong lead-out necessary for victory but still, Pascal was able to outsprint everybody in the bunch and take a close second place." – André Schulze, Sports Director

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