The two classics stars went into the season looking to head the charge and build momentum for their team as it entered its second year. However, by early April, they found themselves kicking their heels after coronavirus shut down their spring classics hunting ground, chewing over a financial crisis in their team which had led to a suspension of all activity and slash of rider pay.
The news Wednesday of a confirmed date in the diary of August 29 for the Tour de France and roadmap for the season to come came as a relief.
“I think it’s good to have a date in mind when we can maybe start,” van Avermaet said in a team statement. “It’s really important that we have certain dates in our head where you see big races popping up. I think mentally that’s the most important thing and for sponsors, they can see an end [to the racing stop] and when we can start riding again. So this helps us both ways.”
With the Tour acting as the economic engine of the whole pro cycling industry, the chance for CCC Team to show its orange jerseys on the roads of France later this year could rejuvenate team coffers and offer a much-needed morale boost.
While van Avermaet has been free to ride through a lower-intensity lockdown in Belgium on the open roads, Trentin has been under strict quarantine protocol in Italy. Training day after day indoors is one thing, but doing so without any goals or targets is another thing altogether.
“The first good thing is that at least we can pinpoint something on the calendar,” Trentin said. “We have a date where we need to be ready. Training inside is already difficult for this period of time, for me it’s already one month.”
“As an athlete, you need a goal, a focus, something to work towards so now we have a date,” he said.” We don’t know if it’s going to happen, of course, as it depends on how this pandemic develops in the next few weeks. But we have a starting point and that’s a good thing.”
While van Avermaet had been left frustrated at seeing his both of his twin goals of Tour of Flanders and Olympic Games postponed, the Flandrian finds some benefit to the re-scheduled season. The provisional road map put in place will see the Tour fall in August and September, followed by the world championships, commencing September 20. The monuments would slot in afterward in yet-to-be confirmed dates
We can see the Nationals, Tour de France, and World Championships together so that will be a big block of important races,” van Avermaet said. “For me, the one-day races will be really important. A big Grand Tour in the legs helps to have strong one-day classics races. so, for me, I hope it goes like this and we will see how far I can come in the races.”
Van Avermaet won the virtual Tour of Flanders earlier this month. He will be hoping that acts as a sign of good things to come as he and his co-leader shift their focus to the real-life bergs later this fall.