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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Cycling: “Don’t get any younger”: Buchmann still believes in a tour podium

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Emanuel Buchmann was once considered a podium candidate at the Tour de France. Since his fourth place in 2019, nothing has worked out for the climbing specialist. In 2023 he wants to attack again.

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Emanuel Buchmann has big plans. The former Tour de France fourth-placed climber has racked up a lot of altitude since the beginning of the year on Gran Canaria. After three years full of bankruptcies, bad luck and breakdowns, the Allgäuer is running out of time.

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“I’m not getting any younger. Now the 3 is in front of me. I’ll still have a few years, but it’s not like it was when I was 25 or 26, when they said I had ten more years at the top level has,” said Buchmann, who starts the season on Mallorca on Wednesday, recently in a media round.

Setback follows setback

The 30-year-old has long had to accept a new role in the Bora-hansgrohe team. The Australian Jai Hindley, as a Giro winner, is also the captain of the Tour de France in the summer, for Buchmann there is only a supporting role for the time being. “You already have that in the back of your mind that I’m no longer the sole leader. Jai is set first. It’s no problem for me to work for someone else if I’m not the strongest,” said the Ravensburger native.

In 2019 Buchmann was still the strongest in the German WorldTour team. At the Tour, he finished fourth, and the podium was to follow as the next step. Only Jan Ullrich, Andreas Klöden and Kurt Stöpel had managed that from Germany. But the climbing specialist was thrown back again and again by falls, illnesses and Corona breaks. It was “frustrating,” Buchmann recalled. “Sometimes I was in very good shape, then I fell. Last year I was constantly ill. It’s a bit desperate. Now we’ll try again in the new year.”

Aldag: “We still believe in him”

It may be his last chance to fight for a top position on the tour again. Because the competition is big in the team, in addition to Hindley, the Russian tour fifth Alexander Wlassow and Lennard Kämna also have an eye on the overall ranking on big tours. But both will tackle the Giro d’Italia in 2023.

“We continue to believe in him,” said sporting director Rolf Aldag, but also conceded: “Emu will definitely get his freedom, but going into the tour with a one-man captaincy for Emu is a pressure that we don’t definitely have to accept.” Anyway: Everything is going normally, the first two places are almost taken by tour winner Jonas Vingegaard (Denmark) and two-time champion Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia).

Buchmann is also realistic about that. “The two are stronger than me, but they also have to get through well first. They can also fall or have bad luck in the preparation. Then the two places will be free again,” said the German champion from 2015, who was a little in his driving style is limited. He couldn’t keep up with the attacks of the two top stars. “The two are more explosive than me. I have to drive at my own pace,” says Buchmann. Added to this is his weakness in time trials, although this time only 22 kilometers are to be covered in the fight against the clock.

The new generation around Vingegaard, Pogacar and also world champion Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) made the races tougher. Nevertheless, he must be aware of “how good you were,” added Buchmann and does not give up his dream: “There are also a few people who were over 30 on the podium for the first time. I wouldn’t be there the first and the only.”

Source: Stern

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