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Cycling

Tour de France rising star Emanuel Buchmann on the 'brutal' Alpine stretches

Mountain stages at the Tour de France push riders to the limit. The exertions of the climbs even branded young German talent Emanuel Buchmann. He tells DW what this year's Tour has taught him.

DW: How do you feel after a tough stage like this one?

Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe team): I'm pretty exhausted. That, along with the ninth stage, was the toughest day on the Tour for me. The stretches at altitude were really brutal. There were a couple of truly tough mountains we had to clear today. And we rode them very quickly.

About 10 kilometers (six miles) before the summit of the Col du Galibier you dropped away from the group of favorites around Chris Froome. What was going through your mind then?

It's not pleasant when you fall back just 10 kilometers before the mountain's peak. Because we were fighting headwinds up there and if you're by yourself, it's tough. But there weren't many left in the leading group by that stage.

Frankreich Tour de France 2017 | Emanuel Buchmann (imago/Eibner)

Buchmann was expecting to play second fiddle at the Tour this year, until his team leader retired from the race early

Nevertheless you're still a respectable 15th in the overall standings - are you proud of your performance so far?

Yes, I think it's been ok. After the Criterium du Dauphine [editor's note: an important preparatory race before the Tour, in which Buchmann finished seventh overall]  I was actually thinking to myself that I could mix it even further forward. But my form's not quite as good now as it was then, so my current position is definitely decent.

It does indeed seem like your form's dipped just a little - did you peak too soon for the Tour?

That was actually the plan all along. I wanted to hit top form at the Criterium du Dauphine and then do my bit here as a helper for Rafal Majka [editor's note: Majka, Bora-Hansgrohe's main hope for the yellow jersey this year, had to retire early]. But once he dropped out, it fell to me to lead the charge here as well.

The Tour's entering its closing stages. What's still attainable for you?

The stage on the Col d'Izoard will be another really tough one. Let's see if a breakaway group emerges there, or whether Team Sky can control everything again. Perhaps there's still a chance to do something.

Screenshot Instagram mit den Beinen des Radprofis P. Poljanski (Instagram/P. Poljanski)

Pawel Poljanski provided his Instagram followers with some insight to the physical strains riders subject themselves to covering thousands of kilometers in less than a month

What will you take away from this Tour de France?

I have learned a great deal. I was riding with an eye on the overall classifications last year, too, but this time has been different. It's a big challenge to keep delivering over three weeks. The most important thing I've noticed: At the Tour de France you have to be on top form at the starting line. If you're not at 100 percent there, then the whole thing is not much fun and you often suffer.

Emmanuel Buchmann, 24, has been a pro cyclist since 2015. In that very first professional campaign he became German champion and completed the Tour de France. Since then he's been marked as Germany's next big hope in the overall classifications at big races. Alongside many other top riders at this year's Criterium du Dauphine, Buchmann won the best young rider award - and he's on course for a top-20 finish in the Tour.

The interview was conducted by Joscha Weber at the conclusion of stage 17 in Serre-Chevalier. 

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