The Tour is the next event in the spotlight as the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic and the pro cycling industry attempts to salvage a calendar already torn to shreds.
“Personally, I don’t think we’ve seen the worst of it in France, and I don’t think the government will leave anything to chance just for a bike race,” Porte said, Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, it’s just sport. It’s hardly a debate when people are losing their lives.”
The Tasmanian is one of the many riders in lockdown in pro cycling hotspots through Europe, and is currently quarantined with family in his Monaco apartment. Porte returned to his European training base after riding Paris-Nice, which was cut short by one stage as the coronavirus crisis intensified.
Porte spoke to The Examiner of his experience in lockdown, which so far has lasted five days. Like neighboring countries France and Italy, Monaco is in a state of advanced lockdown, with severe restrictions on riding on the road.
“It’s all a bit scary,” Porte said. “I’m on the other side of the world and I’m here to ride my bike but it’s hard when you’re stuck inside. You miss it more than you think you would. It’s the job, but I do enjoy it. For now I’m stuck here and riding on a home trainer on the terrace does feel a bit like torture.”
“The worst thing is no-one knows when it’s going to end. The rumor is 45 days in quarantine, and we’re five days in. Constantly being in limbo is a bit stressful.”
Like many, 35-year-old Porte holds out hope for racing to resume soon, but casts doubt on what sort of form the peloton may show up in after the majority have been stuck indoors for several weeks.
“We may start racing again in May or June but none of us would have ridden our bikes for six weeks,” Porte said.
“The Tour is three months from now – the Grand Depart was moved forward to fit in the Olympics straight afterwards. But at this point, no-one really knows if they will go ahead.”
Although Porte is doubtful as to whether the Tour can go ahead, French government officials revealed Monday that they are discussing with ASO the possibility of holding a stripped-down Tour in its originally planned dates, June 27 – July 19. The officials are considering a ‘behind closed doors’ Tour that would operate in a similar way to how Paris-Nice played out earlier this month.