Tour de France to take place from August to September, followed by the World Championships, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, Monuments rescheduled as well.
After weeks of uncertainty generated by the coronavirus pandemic that led to hundreds of races being cancelled or postponed, the UCI – after holding talks with the race organisers – has rolled out a new calendar for the 2020 season, which will restart in the summer and include all of the sport’s main events.
As it goes, the Tour de France – originally slated to take place between 27 June and 19 July – will now be run from 29 August to 20 September, benefitting from the postponement of the Olympic Games. The race will keep its parcours, meaning that it will start from Nice and see the riders take on such climbs as Orcières-Merlette, Mont Aigoual, Grand Colombier, Villard-de-Lans, Méribel, and La Planche des Belles Filles, before the traditional finish in Paris.
The race will be followed by the World Road Championships, held in Switzerland between 20-27 September, and the other Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, which will keep their three-week format, meaning the season should continue into November. Cycling’s five Monuments – Milano-Sanremo, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, and Il Lombardia – will also take place this year, with dates still to be defined, while the National Championships have been moved to the weekend of 22-23 August and the European Championships maintained for 9-13 September.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere talked of the changes implemented to the calendar, assuming that the pandemic will allow so: “I am happy that we have more or less a schedule and that it includes all the big events. Some other races are very likely to take place in early August to give riders the opportunity to arrive in a good condition at the start of Le Tour, which will also be of importance. Of course, it depends from country to country, but the riders could have the possibility to run an intense training program in July, before resuming racing, so that they are fit until the end of the season.”
Julian Alaphilippe, who animated last year’s Tour de France, carrying the yellow jersey for two weeks in addition to a brace of stage wins, also shared his thoughts on the matter: “I’m really happy to finally have a calendar, to see that races like the Tour de France, the Worlds, and the Monuments are planned to go ahead. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel, which is something good for the morale in times like these as it gives you an extra boost to work harder in order to be fit for when the moment will come to be again with my teammates.”
“Of course, the news is quite fresh and we will need to discuss all of the options as a team, but it is a bit of a relief that there is some sort of structure in place and we can look forward to racing again. I have still been training, but without a goal in mind it can be hard, so it’s nice to have some dates to aim for”, Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels said. “It looks like a condensed period of racing, but I am sure we will all be ready to pin a number on by then and do what we love. Hopefully we are all safe to do so soon and I can look to build my program for the rest of the year with the team.”
From his home in Ireland, where he is training daily on his Tacx rollers to stay in shape, Sam Bennett welcomed the good news: “Finally, today we woke up to some nice news. It’s really exciting to have something to target, this is very good for our sport, for the sponsors, for the riders and fans. We have something to aim for again, which is great. It means the season isn’t lost and that the show will go on a little bit. Hope everyone is excited as I am!”
European ITT Champion Remco Evenepoel was another Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to talk about the rearrangement of the calendar: “I am glad that we have something, even if it means a few more months before we are back racing. Of course, I will have to talk with the team and work together on a program, but things look better now that we have a calendar and it features the Worlds, the European Championships and all the other historic races. Knowing that they will take place makes me happy.”
“It’s nice to see that we now have some dates and we know when the Tour de France will start, if everything will be fine in the world by then, and we know that the Monuments will be run as well. We can set our goals and plan our training well. We are really looking forward to it and also to see our fans again supporting us from the side of the road, we miss that”, added Yves Lampaert.
Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers