Stage dream burst? Buchmann breaks in on the steepest pass

9. Tour stage in the Pyrenees

The tour stage is still a long way off for Emanuel Buchmann. After last year’s fourth lost time on Saturday, he clearly lost track on the steepest pass of this tour. A Slovenian won.

Photo series with 12 photos

Professional cyclist Emanuel Buchmann has to bury his dream of a podium in the Tour de France. At the two-day climbing spectacle in southern France, the battered German hopefuls didn’t keep up with the best as hoped and lost a lot of time on the uncompromising rivals.

Buchmann is now 5:45 minutes behind new leader Primoz Roglic (Slovenia / Jumbo-Visma) 18th overall. On the first day of rest on Monday, when the third series of Corona tests of the Tour 2020 is on the program, the Bora-hansgrohe Buchmann team decides on the further strategy. Targets are likely to be revised downwards.

After the first setback on Saturday, things did not go as expected for the 27-year-old Bora captain. Last year’s fourth Buchmann reached the finish of the second Pyrenean stage after 153 km in Laruns in 23rd place, 4:12 minutes behind the day winner Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia / UAE Team Emirates).

Others argue about the yellow jersey. Top favorite Roglic, who replaced Briton Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at the top, Pogacar and defending champion Egan Bernal (Colombia / Ineos Grenadiers) were on the same level in the Pyrenees. Roglic leads Bernal with 21 seconds.

The peloton tears apart on the Col de la Hourcere

“No time to lose” – that was the big goal of the Bora team on Sunday, which turned out to be a difficult undertaking given its demanding profile. The plan to send a driver to an escape group as a late Buchmann helper worked, but an escape from the field at a high initial pace had long been prevented. Finally, Lennard Kämna made the leap forward.

The relentless driving style quickly took its toll. On the first difficult climb, the rainy Col de la Hourcere, the peloton had shrunk to the group with favorites and Buchmann ran into problems for the first time. But he still kept the connection.

Buchmann and the dream of the stage

That changed at the start of the Col de Marue Blanque: Buchmann had two helpers by his side, but could no longer keep up with the heavy pace of Roglic’s Jumbo team. Visibly battered, he fought his way to the goal, it was just damage control.

It was a fact that Buchmann’s dream of the podium will remain unfulfilled this year indicated the day before. On the way to Loudenvielle he had lost more than a minute to the top stars around Roglic and Bernal. “That’s not what I wanted and how I would like to ride,” he said afterwards, “but it won’t get better after the crash.”

Poitschke: “The last few percent are missing”

Two weeks before the start of the trip, Buchmann had a bad fall at the Dauphine, and at the Grand Depart in Nice the wounds were not fully healed. The long days in the saddle during the first week of the tour had a positive effect on Buchmann’s condition, but he is not quite under control yet. “The last few percent are just missing to participate. But we fought really well,” said Boras Sports Director Enrico Poitschke on Sunday.

Buchmann was one of the losers from the hardest weekend to date, but others were hit even harder. The hope of France, Thibaut Pinot, experienced tragedy on both days. Bitter for the hosts: the Maillot jaune is also out of reach of crowd favorite Julian Alaphilippe.

On Monday, the tour will take a break for the first time – but the tension between the teams remains high: for the first time in almost two weeks, all drivers and team members will be tested on Covid-19. Two positive results lead to exclusion from the entire team, even though only members of the supervisory staff are involved.

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