Fourth overall in the 2019 Tour, Buchmann has started this year with a victory at the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana in January, but an accident forced him to abandon the month following the UAE Tour, which was his last race prior to the sars coronavirus pandemic, which interrupted the season. Assuming that he completes the Dauphiné, it will be the age of eleven race days in the legs, by the time the Tour is in progress, but he feels no compunction to compensate for his lack of competition.
The German believes that he can prepare as well by the education that he can for the race. He is currently in training in the Ötztal Alps in Austria with its Bora-Hansgrohe team, and he will take in another altitude camp – “for seven or eight days, without doubt in Livigno” – immediately after the Dauphiné concludes on August 16. He acknowledged that the whole platoon of the meagre diet of the race before the Tower could even play to his advantage.
“I think it is not bad for me that you have to do everything in the training because I think I can achieve a very high level with some training and no racing,” he said. “Normally, I have my best level when I come to a long training period. Last year, I often have four, five or six weeks without racing, and then I was in the best shape for the races, so that’s the plan.”
Twelve months ago, Buchmann has served a notice of his Tour form by finishing third overall at the Dauphiné, while the 27-year-old said that he has not given the ambitions for the reduction edition of the race this time: “I think it would be really nice to have a good result there, but it is more important to have a good feeling and see that you’re ready.”
A native of Ravensburg, Buchmann is now based on the Lake of Constance, in Bregenz, Austria, where – unlike its peers in France, Italy and Spain, it has been able to train outside throughout the break of the competition. His regime included a ‘Everesting’ attempt on the slopes of the Heimelerberg with the help of a German charity for children, if the effort has not been classified as a record that it fell foul of the unofficial rules of the enterprise.
“It was never intended to be an official record: it was just a charity action for a good cause. I wanted to do something different in training,” said Buchmann, who quietly added that he did not intend to pursue the registration, not less, now that the seriousness of the preparation of the Tour has begun in earnest. “Now is not the right time.”
The climbing team
Bora-Hansgrohe named their selection for the Tour on Tuesday, and if Peter Sagan will be present at the search one-eighth green jersey, the team is built around Buchmann’s general classification ambitions. Max Schachmann, Felix Großschartner, Gregor Mühlberger and Lennard Kämna will flank Buchmann in the mountains, with Daniel Oss and Lukas Pöstlberger provide support elsewhere.
“I think Ineos and Jumbo have the strongest teams and I expect them to make the race,” Buchmann said. “But we also have a very strong team for the mountains, when all the world is in good shape and we need to act when it is possible to do something.”
Buchmann placed just 25 seconds shy of the podium, and less than two minutes off the yellow jersey at the end of 2019 Tower, where he has been a consistent if modest presence in the direction of the head of the race every time the road went up. He gently rejected the idea that a more profound theory list of contenders for the 2020 Round would be the path to the podium all the more complicated in September.
“I think last year there was also a lot of competitors,” he says. “Everyone must first start the Tour in good shape, and then finish the Tour without crashes or getting sick. Not everyone can finish the Lap as he waits.”
Indeed, Buchmann is reluctant to launch its spirit beyond the avenue des Champs-Élysées, on September 20. World championships – assuming they go ahead as planned in Martigny and the Vuelta a España are also planned in its program, but the Tour is the event etched in Buchmann of consciousness at that time.
“I am not a born captain, the one who makes the big speech,” Buchmann told the day before last year’s Tour, and he remains a softly spoken, almost shy character, even after his break from the performance last July. Such self-containment should not, however, be taken for a lack of self-confidence. Tuesday, he was asked if he was a potential winner of the 2020 Round. His answer was short but informative.
“It is not impossible,” Buchmann said. “Why not?”