Shock for tour de france hopeful emanuel buchmann, trepidation about maximilian schachmann's start: the german cycling team bora-hansgrohe is experiencing ups and downs of emotions just two weeks before the tour of france with painful crashes of its top riders and a surprise win.
The 27-year-old buchmann pulled himself out on a descent at the 72. Criterium du dauphine suffered severe bruising and skin abrasions, german champion schachmann collided with a car and broke his capitate bone during the lombardy circuit. In addition, buchmann's austrian noble helper gregor muhlberger injured his hand. Lennard kamna's first professional victory was overshadowed on saturday in the french alps, as was colombian daniel martinez's overall victory on sunday after five stages.
"We are naturally shocked. And I'm sorry for the whole team, our strategy – and for lennard kamna. Because his big win went down because of the accident," team manager ralph denk told the "munchner merkur" and the "tz" (monday editions). On buchmann and muhlberger, denk added: "the way things looked on sunday, the tour de france is not in danger for either of them."
According to the team statement, buchmann did not suffer any broken bones. The rider from ravensburg is suffering from "severe pain" – and this in the decisive phase of the tour preparation of all things. Other top riders like primoz roglic and steven kruijswijk crashed on descents of the dauphine tour and had to give up the race injured. Vuelta winner roglic had presented himself in top form and led the race in the yellow jersey.
"Gravel and deep holes all the way down the track. The people who decided to go this way don't give a damn about the safety of us riders," wrote former world time trial champion tony martin on instagram. The angry teammate of roglic and kruijswijk also addressed the world governing body UCI in his post: "how many more bad accidents must happen for something to change??"
Sprint router andre greipel also expressed his displeasure: "this is disrespectful of all the riders on the part of the organizers. Risking health to have the result at the end of the descent that two candidates for the general classification are out," wrote the 38-year-old on twitter.
The five-day tour dress rehearsal was supposed to bring some clarity, but suddenly the question of favorites for the tour de france is more open than ever. Of all things, defending champion egan bernal from colombia, who had dropped out before the fourth stage on saturday due to slight back problems, could now suddenly be the big winner after roglic and buchmann dropped out.
Even more dramatic were the events in northern italy. Miraculously, belgian cycling prodigy remco evenepoel escaped with a fractured pelvis and bruised right lung after falling off a bridge into a ravine. "I'm glad he's still alive," said patrick lefevere, team manager of evenepoel's racing team quickstep, at "het nieuwsblad". Nevertheless, the season is over for the 20-year-old evenepoel.
Schachmann, on the other hand, can still hope to start the season's climax despite his curious run-in with an apparently errant female driver. "The tour is not over yet for max. There is still hope that he can ride," jens zemke, sporting director of schachmann's team bora-hansgrohe, told the german press agency after consulting with team doctors. According to the report, schachmann does not need an operation. Team manager denk judged: "the tour is in grave danger for maximilian."
The UCI announced investigations. "UCI worldtour events require closed roads along the entire route," the world federation said, considering a complaint against the organizer. "You can't have more bad luck. Who would expect a car to suddenly appear on the track during a world tour race?. Despite everything max is very composed and confident," said zemke. Schachmann should be in the running for the 29th. August's tour of france, which starts in nice, will actually be an important helper for team captain Emanuel Buchmann.