My top five contenders, the stages to stay up for and the potential impacts COVID-19 will have on one of the toughest Tour’s yet.
There’s no doubt, Tour de France 2020 is going to be different – and incredibly hard!
On paper, the first 10 days seem to be the hardest start of the Tour for some time, without even considering unprecedented influences in the lead up to this year’s Big Lap.
The stages that matters most for the overall general classification (GC) contenders are Grand Colombier (stage 15), Méribel (stage 18) and La Planche des Belles Filles (stage 20) but, this year — more than ever — just getting to those stages without time losses is going to be difficult.
— SBS Australia (@SBS) August 23, 2020
Who should we watch out for and why?
Sprinters: I have a personal bias here, but I am hoping Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) have their best Tours yet. With such a hard start to the race this year, I think some of the pure sprinters will have a tough time getting to the final with enough left in the tank to give their best. This opens up some opportunities for fast guys who can get over the hills, like Giacomo, Peter Sagan (Bora–Hansgrohe) or maybe Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain–McLaren).
Climbers: It’s interesting that Mitchelton-SCOTT don’t openly state they are going for GC with guys like Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves. With some of the harder starts to stages like 3, 13 and 14, there will be some good breakaway opportunities for climbers not aiming for the GC. As it is a climbers tour, I anticipate the GC guys to be at the fore in the big mountains.
GC contenders: Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) is always going to be the favourite and, on paper, this Tour suits him perfectly. I am a big fan of Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo–Visma), and I am hoping he will get over his injuries sustained at Dauphiné to be at his best for this year’s Tour. Don’t discount INEOS’ strengths with Richard Carapaz and Pavel Sivakov. I put Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Nairo Quintana (Arkéa–Samsic) down to round out the top five.
Like nearly every profession, cycling has its complications to overcome and protect itself from this pandemic. I just hope the testing protocols are accurate, and everyone involved with the Tour do all that they can to deter any further spread of the virus.
A lack of lead-in races certainly makes this year’s Tour more unpredictable – not only in the riders base training and competition, but I am guessing the lack of racing is influencing the amount of crashes that are happening this year. Let’s hope everyone has got back into the routine by 29 August.
Normally, I would be attending, but this year it’s unlikely. I am trying to be a responsible member of society in this situation by minimising my travel and, as we are expecting a baby soon, it’s not the time to take any risks.
Reflections on 2011 Greatness
I am proud of my effort [to win the 2011 Tour de France] – maybe even more so after the years have passed. It still amazes me how much it changed my life. I am also amazed at how many people watched, appreciated and remember my efforts all those years ago.
P.S. Have we seen the best of Chris Froome?
I was thinking, and hoping, that the 2020 season interruption would be in Chris’ favour. His team clearly does not think that, I am guessing Chris is working away at proving them wrong in 2021.
As told to Harriet Edmund
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