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Less than 24 hours after the inevitable news that the Tour de France will be postponed, race organizers are contemplating the shape of the season to come.
Reports from Spanish outlet Marca are suggesting that an early pact has been formed between heads of the Tour, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. The reported agreement in place is for the Tour to run five weeks later than originally anticipated, August 2 – 25, with the Vuelta following in September, and the Giro in October.
While space on the calendar is limited as organizers of the monuments, Giro d’Italia and Tour de France look to shoehorn their races into an already-busy late-season calendar, it is reported that all three grand tours will retain their traditional three-week format.
“They will be 3-3-3; never 3-2-2 or 3-3-2”, Giro d’Italia boss Mauro Vegni said. Vuelta boss Javier Guillén had already insisted at the start of this month that his race would retain its 21-day format.
The schedule suggested by Marca places the Tour one week later than initial rumors of a ‘Plan B’ — starting on July 25 — and would have the Vuelta a España pushed back from its initially-scheduled August 14 roll-out. With ASO organizing both the Vuelta and Tour, it is likely that an arrangement can be struck benefiting both races.
One question that remains is whether racers will be given time to train in advance of the first grand tour. There have been calls from team bosses including Matt White (Mitchelton Scott) and Marc Madiot (Groupama-FDJ) that athletes need adequate time to train on open roads in advance of competition once lockdowns are lifted.
Whether riders are in top form for the races or not, hopes are still high for some grand tour action in 2020.