Bernal, López confirm all-French calendar before the Tour

Colombian pair both mark Route d'Occitane on August 1 as first race in post-coronavirus season.

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana) will be following similar, all-French route to this year’s Tour de France.

Defending Tour champion Bernal and Tour debutant López will both be starting their seasons at the four-stage Route d’Occitane on August 1. From there, Bernal will race the Tour de l’Ain before heading to the Critérium du Dauphiné August 12 – 16. Lopez will ride the Ventoux Denivele Challenge ahead of leading Astana at the Dauphiné.

The Colombian pair are hoping to travel to Europe on July 19. While the country has  closed its borders to all international travel, the Colombian federation is hoping to secure a charter flight for its dozens of professional riders next month.

Lower-tier races like the Tour de l’Ain and Route d’Occitane are likely to see a volume of grand tour stars this year thanks to their favorable position on the revised 2020 calendar. The Dauphiné has long been regarded as a vital preparatory race for the Grande Boucle, and this year is no exception, with Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren), Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) and Jumbo-Visma pair Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglič are all slated to be on the start line.

Bernal and Lopez’s intentions to restart their seasons in France on August 1 rules out them appearing at the Vuelta a Burgos, which is proving a popular alternative season-starter to the Route d’Occitane. The Spanish race is looking set to see a wealth of racing talent this year, with Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, Movistar and Mitchelton-Scott among the many WorldTour squads planning to attend. Typically overshadowed in the calendar, the race’s early start date – July 28 – has pulled it front and center in team directors’ planning for the season.