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Tour de France

Tour de France 2020

Although it’s a little later than planned, everyone can watch the world’s biggest annual sporting event again this year: the Tour de France. The 107th edition of the race will commence on 29 August in Nice on the Côte d’Azur and end on 20 September after a gruelling 3,470 km, finishing on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, as has been the tradition since 1975. Starting the race and vying for the most prestigious title in cycling will be 22 teams from 14 countries with a total of 176 riders.

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Tour de France 2020

The Tour de France was first staged in 1903 as a promotional campaign for the newspaper “L’Auto”, the precursor publication to today’s paper “L’Equipe”. Riders in this first race had to conquer six stages, spanning a total of 2,428 km, in 19 days. In 1919 Henri Desgranges, who was race director at the time, decided that the race leader should wear a yellow jersey so that spectators could easily keep track of the race, and race leaders have worn a yellow jersey ever since. The mountains classification was created in 1933, and the best climbers were awarded the polka dot jersey from 1975. The green jersey for the leader in the points classification was introduced in 1953. The fact that our three-times world champion Peter Sagan donned the green jersey last year for an astounding seventh time (more times than anyone before), and the fact that German rider Emanuel Buchmann just missed out on the podium in Paris by a few seconds, gives us and the cycling world reasonable cause to hope that this year’s French Grand Tour will be a colourful success for the BORA team.

Here’s what’s in store this year: a stage profile that is well suited to Buchmann as he likes it mountainous – ideally long and steep at the same time. Eight mountain stages with spectacular mountain finishes in the Massif Central and the Alps await him and his domestiques Gregor Mühlberger, Felix Großschartner and Lennard Kämna. Three medium mountain stages and nine flat stages give Peter Sagan another perfect opportunity to rack up the sprint points and enter the history books in Paris. We’ve certainly got our green fingers crossed!

Spectators should keep an eye on the 20th and penultimate stage this year. It’s the only time trial in this year’s Tour de France, starting in Lure and ending in La Planche des Belles Filles. This is where the race could well and truly be decided. It’s bound to be thrilling whatever happens! Whoever tops the overall standings at this point will wear the yellow jersey into Paris and thus take home the most prestigious victory in the world of cycling.

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Das BORA - hansgrohe Line-up

Twenty-seven professional cyclists from nine different countries in one team. Teamwork makes the dream work in cycling, after all. Even if only one of them is the first over the finish line, winning is a success for the whole team because you can’t win in cycling without domestiques who provide slipstreams, go grab water bottles, keep the competition at bay and lead out the sprinter for the sprint.

Teamwork is top priority in the BORA – hansgrohe team, that’s how they constantly develop, improve and become more successful. The team started in the third division in 2010, still under the NetApp team name, and was evolving and getting better all the time until it was promoted to the first division in 2017. Just two years later and with a total of 47 victories under its belt, the team advanced to the second-best team in the WorldTour division. Although 2020 has turned out to be an unusual season, the team is more motivated than ever and has set its sights high. The year’s nowhere near over though.

Twenty-two teams with eight riders each are competing in the major three-week-long Grand Tours. There are riders specialised in sprint stages, great climbers and good all-rounders who support the two team captains – Emanuel Buchmann, to lead the general classification (GC), and Peter Sagan, to collect as many points as possible.

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Emanuel Buchmann

The BORA – hansgrohe team is particularly proud of Emanuel Buchmann. “Emu” turned pro with the team and established himself as one of the world’s best GC contenders. He usually doesn’t say much; he prefers to let his actions do the talking and show just what he’s capable of on the bike. And what he could do at last year’s Tour de France was an awful lot, performing with incredible consistency over 21 stages. The Ravensburg native was just a few seconds short of getting on the podium in Paris, so the 27-year-old’s mission for Tour de France 2020 is obvious: to get a place on the podium on the Champs-Elysées. He has a domestique team of world-class climbers to support him.

 

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Peter Sagan

As a three-time world championship winner, seven-time winner of the green jersey at the Tour de France and winner of the Queen of the Classics Paris-Roubaix with a total of 113 wins in his career, Peter Sagan is one of the most successful professional cyclists ever. But there is one thing that the 30-year-old Slovakian cyclist is and that’s different. If we’ve learned one thing about this rock star of the cycling world, then it’s that he has unbelievable mental strength and that is he is a force to be reckoned with. He goes all in when he wins and equally so when he’s entertaining the fans. During the race you can see him signing autographs on the Tourmalet pass or delighting the crowds by performing a wheelie because Peter Sagan not only considers it his duty to put on an impressive performance athletically, he also wants to put on a good show for the spectators.

 

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Felix Großschartner

Felix is third member of the “Austria Gang” riding at the Tour de France. The 26-year-old joined the team in 2018. He is the designated mountain specialist and will help Team Captain Emanuel Buchmann to get a podium in the final stage in Paris.

Felix chalked up his first big win in 2019 when he won one stage and topped the overall standings at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. It wasn’t just his victory, it was also the first overall win at an international stage race for the BORA – hansgrohe team.

 

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Lennard Kämna

The 23-year-old from the far north of Germany started to make a name for himself early in his career. In particular it was his skills as a time trial rider battling against the clock that were remarkable, making him junior time trial world champion and under-23s European time trial champion. At just 20 years old, he won the world team time trial championships alongside his teammates and cycling stars Tom Dumoulin and Michael Matthews, to name a couple. But it was the Tour de France 2019 that made the cycling world sit up and pay attention as he – still in Team Sunweb at this point – performed extraordinarily well, especially in the race’s third week, always riding at the front of the pack. He’s a great racing talent that BORA – hansgrohe team manager Ralph Denk was quickly able to get for his team. Now he’s starting as a domestique for Emanuel Buchmann.

 

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Gregor Mühlberger

Joining the team as a stagiaire (a kind of professional cycling trainee) in 2015, Gregor Mühlberger, affectionately called “Mübsi” by his teammates, made the journey from ProConti to WorldTour level. He played a big part in helping Emanuel Buchmann achieve success in last year’s race, so of course this key domestique will be there this year too. The Austrian cyclist also rode to his first victories this year so it will come as no surprise if he happens to clinch a stage win at the Tour de France.

 

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Daniel Oss

The Italian, hailing from Lake Garda, is not just a friend of Peter Sagan, he has also been his domestique for many years. Understanding each other perfectly makes working together so much easier – and it means you’ll sometimes see Daniel do his best Peter Sagan impression in interviews. The 33-year-old brings much experience and a calming influence to the team, both of which are vital during Grand Tours. But back on the team bus, he also makes sure that everyone’s enjoying themselves with tunes to get them pumped up. Keep on rockin’, Daniel!

 

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Lukas Pöstlberger

Like Gregor Mühlberger, Lukas Pöstlberger joined the team as a stagiaire (professional cycling trainee) in 2015. The two-time Austrian national champion is deployed as an all-rounder and gives valuable support in whatever role he is given. There’s a good reason why his signature hashtag is #poestipower. During the first stage of Giro d’Italia 2017 (his first Grand Tour ever), he seized the moment and bagged the stage win in style and donned the pink leader jersey for a day. With this win he immediately made history as the first Austrian to ever win a stage at the Giro d’Italia. Perhaps that puts Pösti in with a good chance at the Tour de France?

 

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Maximilian Schachmann

Max has been on the starting line with team BORA – hansgrohe since 2019. The 26-year-old cyclist from Berlin had no trouble settling in, claiming six victories in his first year and bagging the title of German national champion. His second year started even more successfully: he achieved a stage and an overall win at the prestigious Paris–Nice “Race to the Sun”, boosting his confidence and bringing him to the attention of cycling elites. He’s both the key domestique and the wild card at the Tour de France, and he has already clearly shown that he doesn’t shy away from big names. Allez allez allez!