Bora-Hansgrohe Season Review
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
As a classics team full of reference riders both in the cobbles and in the walls there were very big expectations for Bora coming in the early season right away, and in Spain Buchmann and Ackermann opened the tabs early on which got the team on pace, the opening weekend went solid without Sagan whilst again Ackerman and Schachmann nailed a couple more wins in March. Sagan missed the podium in Milano Sanremo surprisingly and then in the cobbles the pressure put on him had it's consequences once again as in the results sheet Sagan could only crack the Top10 once with a fifth place in Paris-Roubaix, Postleberger and Selig cracked the Top10 too throughout the cobbles.
As for the Ardennes the team went with a firing Max Schachmann after a thrilling sequence of performances in the Basque Country, he finished fifth in Amstel and then repeated that result in Fleche with Konrad in seventh, and to top it off the team really crunched Liège with Formolo storming to a second place and Schachmann rounded up the podium alongside him in the final sprint. The team went with big expectations into the spring and I'd say they dealt with it pretty well overall with some wins and plenty of strong results which were then completed by Ackermann's win in Frankfurt.
With Sagan and Bennett starting off the win count in January it was a quick start for the team's sprinter who have nailed wins across the year, UAE, Paris-Nice, Turkey, California, Dauphiné, Suisse, Slovenia, Pologne, Binckbank, Czech and Deutschland, in all these races the sprinters nailed a big amount of quality wins which alone was already a big success. There were more wins such as the Catalunya breakaways I so fondly recall, but over the GC field there was also a lot of success.
Buchmann was fourth in UAE and then third in Basque Country where Konrad and Schachmann were also in the Top10, Majka was seventh in Catalunya and then Grossschartner took over in April as he won Turkey alongside a stage and then finished fourth in Romandie and eight in Cali. In the second part of the season they kept coming as Buchmann finished on the podium antecipating his brilliant Tour and Konrad also cracked the podium in Suisse which were enough to recall these months quite fondly for the different blocks of the team. Formolo and Majka also finished in the Top10 in Pologne.
As for the Grand Tours, my rating is 10/10! Spotless I've said it. The first element was the GC fight, see in the Giro I had low expectations of seeing Majka break the Top10 as he's faded as a GC contender but I got an overall big surprise as he finished sixth in front of Lopez and Simon Yates and Formolo was of a huge support, he was consistent and never had big cracks and flaws. And then in the Vuelta I was having those expectations and he fullfiled them perfectly again as he finished sixth once again, survived the crosswinds and several brutal stages in sequence and also had no bad day. And as for the Tour we all know the story, Emanuel Buchmann's progress over the years meant it was inevitable to have him perform at the very top level, he finished fourth at the Tour with a brilliant and consistent race that promised more, his issue came with the even stronger contenders that also lacked a bad day ahead.
And for the sprinters, you can say all you want about the drama throughout the season with Sam Bennett but in no way did that slow down the win rate between any of the sprinters, I think this was a case of each were pushing each other due to the pressure, each had their own Grand Tour so to say, Ackermann took on the Giro and a couple stage wins alongside the Maglia Ciclamino, then Sagan took on the Tour for a record-smashing seventh Green jersey and a stage win, and then to finish it off Sam Bennett went on to the Vuelta as the premier sprinter as he took two stage wins and just hit the post with a second place three times.
To wrap the final couple of months there was still a very strong finish, Pascal Ackermann finished the year absolutely flying as he took the GP Fourmies and the Gooikse Pijl and then went on to take two stages in Guangxi with some more podium places along the way. Konrad and Bennett shone in San Sebastian/Hamburg, as Sagan finished second in Quebec and then Buchmann finished the season strong with Top10 in Gran Piemonte and Lombardia and then Grossschartner wrapped a superb season with fifth in Guangxi. Taking a look at the overall amount of wins at World Tour level the team really did it in an absolutely outstanding fashion.
Wins (WT): 47 (31)
Highlight: Schachmann's trio of wins in Basque Country.
Best Performer: Pascal Ackermann
Biggest Surprise: Felix Grossschartner
Negative Surprise: Maciej Bodnar