Should you be unsure what Emanuel Buchmann looks like, that’s him on the right pictured above. At least, we think that’s him. We are not entirely sure…
In years gone by, what became known in cycling journalist circles as ‘doing a Zubeldia’ involved ghosting into a top-ten GC position in Paris virtually unseen.
The absolute master of the dark art was Haimar Zubeldia, of course, who achieved this miraculous feat no less than five times during his long and solid – if unspectacular – career. The Basque man killed it in the consistency stakes. And that’s what makes a good Grand Tour rider.
Now Buchmann has assumed the mantle, wearing his cloak of invisibility on all eleven stages so far. We’ve not spotted him once, despite his current position of fifth on GC. The British TV pundits have not given the German so much as a passing mention. How does the Bora-Hansgrohe man do it?
His results this season suggest an upward trajectory culminating in fine form in this Tour: 4th in the UAE Tour; 3rd in the Basque Country; 7th at Romandie; 3rd at the Dauphiné.
If he can hold his own in the mountains, the German is a decent punt for the podium on the Champs-Élysées
While Bora team-mate Peter Sagan grabs all the headlines and public affection, Buchmann plugs away quietly at the job in hand. You get the feeling that’s how he likes it. We can’t all be superstars. Some guys just want to race their bikes. Fair enough.
Exciting to watch? Not really… Effective? Very.
Have a banana, crack on, see you in Paris.
Rouleur Top Bananas 2019:
Stage 1 – Greg Van Avermaet
Stage 2 – Tony Martin
Stage 3 – Michael Matthews
Stage 4 – Max Richeze
Stage 5 – Toms Skuiņš
Stage 6 – Geraint Thomas
Stage 7 – Wout van Aert
Stage 8 – Thomas de Gendt
Stage 9 – Jasper Stuyven
Stage 10 – Luke Rowe