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Buchmann’s Everesting ambition on hold as Tour looms closer

Budding GC talent plans to aim for Everesting success, but bettering last year's fourth-place at the Tour de France comes first.

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The road to the Tour de France might have passed through an Everesting attempt for Emanuel Buchmann, but the budding German star knows what his priorities are.

Buchmann promises to aim for another Everesting record after his attempt last month was deemed unofficial by a group that monitors the growing niche. In the meantime, Bora-Hansgrohe faces a challenge more pressing with the much more serious business of the Tour de France.

“It was never planned to be an official record,” Buchmann said. “We didn’t break any rules. It was just a charity event, and it helped me go a little bit faster.”

Last month, Buchmann included an Everesting attempt as part of his preparation for the 2020 Tour while at a training camp in the Austrian Alps. Though initially it appeared he set a new mark, Buchmann’s take on the ever more popular Everest challenge was quickly deemed to have not followed the rules laid down by a group — Hells 500 — that monitors record attempts.

Buchmann didn’t seem too worried about it.

“Maybe it’s something I can do in the future and I can go even faster with the right preparation,” he said. “Right now is not the right time to do it.”

Buchmann completed the challenge on the Heimlerberg, a soaring 3,281-foot climb in the Tyrolean Alps just west of Innsbruck. According to Strava, the section of the Heimlerberg that Buchmann rode is 9.4 kilometers in length and averages 11 percent. In an initial release from Bora-Hansgrohe, the team listed his completion time at 7:28.

But according to Buchmann’s Strava profile, that time was simply his moving time, not his elapsed time, which was listed as 7:53.

There was another flaw in his attempt. Buchmann hit the climb from one direction and then completed eight ascents of the climb from another direction. The nature of his ride stands in contrast to the rules for Everesting, which include taking repeated ascents on the same climb.

“I have quite a good time, but it was never meant to be an official attempt,” Buchmann said. “If I do everything right, I am sure I can go faster. I’m not sure when I can try again, but I won’t be doing it in the next few months.”

A similar disqualification came last week for Lachlan Morton, when the group ruled that Morton’s first Everesting attempt came up 450 meters short of the required total ascent due to incorrect segment data. Morton promptly recalibrated, and a week later the Australian rode the required 8,848m of climbing in 7 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds, marking a new record that has been officially verified by event administrators Hells 500.

For Buchmann, his Everesting challenge was more about raising funds for a German charity and getting his legs moving again before the resumption of racing.

Last year, the Bora-Hansgrohe captain was fourth overall at the Tour, and he intends to aim for the podium this year in the rescheduled race, set to start August 29 in Nice, France. He joined his teammates last week in the Austrian Alps for the first team camp since lockdown.

Team manager Ralph Denk said Buchmann returns to the Tour this year with a strong team to back him, and ambitions for moving higher on GC.

“Looking back at Manny’s progress, nobody had the mind that he could scratch so close to the Tour podium,” Denk said of Buchmann. “The next step is the podium, then we’ll see. We are relaxed and taking it step by step.”

Buchmann, who represents the best German-born Tour de France GC possibility in a generation, doesn’t seem to be in a rush either.

“Can I win the Tour someday? Sure, why not,” he said. “Everybody must first start the Tour in good shape, and then finish the Tour without crashes or getting sick. Not everybody can finish the Tour like he expects.”

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