Cycling: The Tour de France 2020 is over. We look at the performance of the German-speaking drivers and classify them.
Germany: Things are looking up
With Marcel Kittel (14 stage victories), André Greipel (11) and Tony Martin (5), we had three guarantors of success between 2011 and 2017 Tour de France. Those times are over for now. For example, we weren't able to record a single stage win in the Tour of France last year. Still, there was something to celebrate. Because with Emmanuel Buchman (Bora – hansgrohe) we were finally able to root for a classification driver again. After a sensational fourth place in 2019, he was not in top form at the start this time after his fall at the Critérium du Dauphiné. When he realized that he couldn't finish in the top 10, he saved his strength and convinced as a loyal helper. But with that, the biggest trump card of the Germans was of course out of the running.
But other professionals jumped into the breach. Lennard Kamna (Bora – hansgrohe) and Maximilian schachmann (Bora – hansgrohe) had to work a lot for their captain Peter Sagan for the green jersey. Nevertheless, they were given free rein as soon as the profile appealed to them more. And they knew how to use this freedom. Both were particularly strong on the 13th stage. Only Daniel Martinez (EF) was unbeatable that day. Kämna and Schachmann took second and third place. Such a daring ride should be successful three days later. Lennard Kämna left Giro winner Richard Carapaz (Ineos) at the top of the last climb and confidently drove towards the day's victory in time trial style. It should be the only victory for the Germans this year - but a truly impressive one!
Although Tony Martin (Jumbo – Visma) was not even active as a breakaway and there was no time trial for him on the program, he put his stamp on the race. During this Tour de France he could be seen for hours on television as the engine for Captain Primoz Roglic. The 35-year-old protected his leader, kept up the pace and recovered breakaways. Also notable was his gesture on the first stage when he called on the entire peloton to refrain from attacking in the pouring rain. Had a similar value for his team Roger Kluge (Lotto – Soudal). The 34-year-old was not only seen again and again because of his height – 1,93 m. After his team lost two men on the opening stage, he became all the more important. In the preparation for the sprint he drove his captain Caleb Ewan and his driver Jasper de Buyst into position. So the small Australian jumped out of two stage victories, in which Roger Kluge played a major role. He also made sure that Caleb Ewan always made the time limit on mountain stages. In the end, Roger Kluge arrived in Paris as 146th and thus last – with a delay of over 6 hours, believe it or not. But from his task and his qualities, we can see that cycling is a team sport and that being last in a tour can be of enormous importance for his team.
Was valuable to his team in a whole different way Simon Geschke (CCC). With the main sponsor retiring after this season and the riders all looking for a new place to live, the Tour de France has given them a lot of freedom. Simon Geschke took advantage of this by being able to show himself several times in a breakaway group. He often had the right instincts, but his companions were just too strong. As seventh on the 13th stage, he had to admit defeat to the outstanding Daniel Martinez (EF), among others. As fifth on the 16th stage, the winner was Lennard Kämna (Bora – hansgrohe). Nevertheless, Simon Geschke definitely did advertising for himself. With all his experience, in addition to his breakaway attempts, he was also an important helper for Matteo Trentin (CCC) and Greg van Avermaet (CCC). This also applies to teammates Jonah Koch (CCC). He achieved his best result with 13th place on the third stage. However, he was planned mainly as a helper for his comrades. Unfortunately, we didn't see much of him at this year's Tour de France - his first ever.
Has presented himself very actively - also at his first Tour de France - Max Walscheid (NTT). He was planned as an important helper for European champion Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT). However, when he had to give up the race injured, Max Walscheid was allowed to pursue his own ambitions. So we saw the 1,99 m tall giant surprisingly often in escape groups. Unfortunately, he had just as little luck there as he did Nils Politt (Israel Start Up Nation). Usually the groups didn't harmonize well enough with each other, or the main field had completely different plans and didn't let them go at all. With a little more luck in the group, both professionals would have been able to win a stage. Still dreaming of one Nickias Arndt (Sunweb), who was already successful at the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. In the 2020 Tour de France, however, his task was different. As a helper, the team management saw him as an important part of Cees Bol's sprint train. And although the Dutchman was unable to win a stage, Sunweb celebrated three times thanks to Marc Hirschi and Sören Kragh Andersen - also thanks to Nikias Arndt.
Only two German drivers look back on the Tour de France 2020 with real unhappiness. It hit particularly hard John Degenkolb (Lotto – Soudal). The 31-year-old came on the first stage fell and fought his way to the finish with bloody knees. However, since he couldn't keep to the time limit, he wasn't allowed to start again the following day. A Tour de France couldn't be any more bitter, especially since the German dreamed of another stage win in the Tour of France after 2018. Believe it or not, 11x was allowed André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) in his career already stretching his arms in the Tour de France. More successes will probably not be added. After a fall at the beginning of this tour, the 38-year-old had to struggle through France with injuries. He made it to the 18th stage before he had to give up the race. At least he was able to show his skills again when he finished sixth on the tenth stage.
Switzerland: Hirschi is an upcoming superstar
Switzerland sent four riders to the Tour de France 2020. And actually all four presented themselves positively. Above all, of course, towers Marc Hirschi (Sunweb). The 22-year-old is considered THE discovery of the tour. After his second place on the second stage, Adam Yates (Mitchelton – Scott) was still wondering who this Hirschi actually was. By now, at the latest, the Briton should know the Swiss. And he will have to compete with him in the years to come. Because within a few days, Marc Hirschi has risen to become one of the absolute top riders in the scene. He finished third on the ninth stage before finally celebrating his victory on the twelfth stage. And it would probably have been even better if he hadn't fallen on stage 18. There he seemed to have been the strongest man in the group again. He was also about to take over the mountain jersey and then possibly wear it to Paris. After all, he was awarded the red shirt number of the most active driver in France's capital. It won't be his last award.
Also a candidate for the red shirt number Michael Schar (CCC). We saw the 33-year-old on flat stages in breakaway groups several times. Unfortunately, the 1,98 m tall Swiss was not lucky with the selection of his stages. Although he kept getting caught, he didn't give up and just tried again the next day. Once he was even together with compatriot Stefan Kung (Groupama – FDJ) on the way. This should actually have been helping captain Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ) full-time. But when he dropped out of the general classification due to injuries, he got a free ride. After 16 stages, Stefan Küng finally got off his bike to prepare for the time trial world championships in Imola. becomes world champion Sebastian Reichenbach (Groupama – FDJ) probably never will, but he is the current Swiss champion. And the 31-year-old presented the beautiful red jersey with the white cross with dignity again this year. Eighth on the twelfth stage and third on the 16th stage, he showed that he is at least a noble helper.
Austria: Only 2 out of 5 reach Paris
The 2020 Tour de France went less well for the Austrians. Because of his fall injuries we got Gregor Muehlberger (Bora – hansgrohe) almost only to be seen behind the peloton. Lukas Postlberger (Bora – hansgrohe) was stung by a wasp during the race. And Michael Gogl (NTT) exhausted himself trying to escape so much that he just couldn't take it anymore. So these three Austrians left the tour on stages 11 and 19. Nevertheless, it should not go unmentioned that the two first-mentioned professionals had to work for their captains Emanuel Buchmann and Peter Sagan and were able to carry out these tasks reliably, especially on the flat. However, due to the circumstances, they were not given any freedom. Michael Gogl, on the other hand, does. He was active as a breakaway several times, but did not get past 16th place on one stage. Something seemed invisible
Felix Grossschartner (Bora – hansgrohe) to be. The talented climber was actually planned to pull Emanuel Buchmann up the mountains as a noble helper. But because that was never to happen, he understandably remained a bit pale. Mark Haller (Bahrain – McLaren) was also not allowed to drive on his own account. The 29-year-old was used surprisingly versatile. Playing on the flat for Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain - McLaren), we then even saw him pick up pace uphill as his side set up an attack from Mikel Landa (Bahrain - McLaren).