Interview with Emanuel Buchmann: "The goal remains the Tour de France"
After a strong start to the year following his first win of the season at the Mallorca Challenge, Emanuel Buchmann is now training alone at home, just like most of his teammates. In our interview, we discussed his fourth place in last year’s Tour de France, his current training regime, and his race plans for the rest of the year.
Emanuel, you had to leave the UAE Tour early at the end of the third stage due to a crash. How are you doing now?
Emanuel Buchmann: Everything has been going relatively well, and I’m able to train as usual now. However, that being said, it did take me a good two weeks to completely recover, as the abrasions were deeper than I had initially expected. But due to the current situation, this unexpected break to my training certainly will not be a significant factor in the rest of the season. In the meantime, I will have already made up for any loss of condition caused by my time off.
You’re referring to the current break from racing due to the Corona virus. One day after you left the UAE tour, the riders there had to go into quarantine. Did you think at that time that the situation would reach such extreme proportions?
Buchmann: Not at all. There has never been anything like this in the history of sports. However, there were already rumours during the UAE Tour that Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo might not be able to take place, and then, after that, everything happened so fast.
All races during the coming weeks have been cancelled, and almost everywhere in Europe there are currently strong restrictions regarding movement outside. How does this affect your training?
Buchmann: Where I live, we’re still allowed to train outside, if done so alone. Since I usually ride alone anyway, I’m not finding that big of a difference. Of course, I now take particular care to avoid contact with other people and am paying full attention to the regulations of the authorities. But I'm glad that it's not quite as strict here as in Italy and Spain, where outdoor training is already strictly prohibited.
At the moment, it’s uncertain when the next races will be able to take place. What does this unusual situation mean in terms of your motivation?
Buchmann: If you don't have goals, it doesn't make things any easier. However, I am someone who really just loves riding my bike. That means I'm also happy to be able to go and train outside. For example, after last year's Tour, I went back to training after only a few days, simply because I missed cycling. But if it reaches a point here that riding outside becomes impossible due to new regulations, then it would certainly be more difficult for me, because I’m not a big fan of indoor training.
Apart from the crash at the UAE Tour, you had a very strong start to the season. To what extent does the current situation affect your goals for this year?
Buchmann: The season started really well for me. I also felt like I was in really good form at the UAE Tour and I could have really mixed things up in the race there. Although my schedule has changed completely, the big goal still remains the Tour de France. If it takes place in July, I want to finish on the podium, and I’ll stick to this statement. There will definitely be some uncertainty about where we all stand in relation to others, due to the lack of races. Nevertheless, I'm trying to make the best of this situation and reach as good a shape as is possible.
So you’re still expecting a Tour de France in July?
Buchmann: There’s still a lot of time until then, and I hope that the situation will slowly start to improve. Nobody knows at the moment, but we’re all hoping for the best and we’re remaining motivated. The Tour is the most important race in the world, and as Romain Bardet said this week, it would be a good sign for the sport if the Tour takes place as planned.
Would a Tour without spectators along the route be conceivable?
Buchmann: The Tour, of course, wouldn’t be the same. Our sport lives through emotions and through the fans. But there is also significant value attached to the Tour, TV contracts, sponsors, teams, and so on. But one thing is certain, we are all still incredibly motivated for the Tour and we’re hoping that it will be able to take place!
Emanuel, thanks very much for the interview!