You have questions about the 2020 Tour de France, and we have answers and educated opinions. Our veteran reporters, Andrew Hood and James Startt, are fielding your biggest inquiries each day in this Active Pass roundtable column. Today, we have a question about the impact that the racing shutdown could have in week three of the Tour de France, and whether or not any riders will abandon early to prepare for the UCI road world championships.
OK, let’s get to your questions!
Has the lack of racing prior to the Tour affected some riders more than others? If so, why do you think that is?
Andrew Hood @eurohoody: The atypical approach to the Tour is certainly playing out. Teams are blowing up earlier than normal, and the race is falling into a mano-a-mano fight between the very strongest. Ineos Grenadiers is far from its best, and we’re also seeing riders like Peter Sagan and Alejandro Valverde, who say they prefer racing as the best way to get into shape, missing a bit in this Tour. It comes down to what were the lockdown conditions. Some riders in France, Italy, Spain, and Andorra couldn’t even go outside for three months. Riders in Belgium or Switzerland could continue to train. Indoor training requires more mental fortitude and some adapt to that better than others.
James Startt: So far I don’t think. so. We haven’t seen real Tour contenders just blowing up at unexpected moments, at least not to the degree I expected. And at this point it might well be hard to say. I mean, if someone blows big now, well we are halfway through the race and have already done a lot of climbing. If Roglič for example blows in the Alps, will we say it was because of the lack of racing or the fact that had been defending the yellow jersey for over a week. At this point it is just game on. That said, I think today’s stage to Puy Mary will be one of the telling stages of this year’s Tour. It is just so steep in the final kilometers. There is no where to hide.
Is Peter Sagan receiving an appearance fee from RCS to race the Giro?
Andy: That has not been publicly confirmed. Under UCI rules, individual fees to riders on the WorldTour is not allowed. Riders, however, can receive payments via other sponsors and payments through teams.
James: I would venture to say yes, certainly considering all of the special videos and promotion he is doing for the Giro organization. And it certainly would not be a bad calculation on the part of the Giro. Sagan is simply the sport’s biggest ambassador. He will bring fans to the sport and the Giro. In addition, he lived for year’s in Italy and speaks the language well. He has a real connection with the country.
Is anyone in the Tour expected to bail out in the third week to prepare for the World championship TT or road race?
Andy: We might see a few riders do that, but racing is the best training for a race like the worlds. Of course, there is a danger of a crash or illness at a race, so you might see a rider or two abandon the Tour early if their team doesn’t need them or if they’re not in the mix for a stage win .
James: No one on my screen has announced that. I mean back in the day, riders like Fabian Cancellara made no secret about dropping out of the Vuelta to prepare for worlds. And he was not the only rider. But this year is so up in the air, and it was made even more complicated by the last-minute change in location for this year’s Worlds. There are still so many unknowns, I think riders are waiting and seeing more. If suddenly they are empty in the third week, and are on the national team, then yes, they will drop. But I haven’t heard riders announcing that just yet.
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