Everything for the Tour de France – battle for the prestige race
Classic cycling: Everything for the Tour de France – battle for the prestigious race. Cancels a tour without spectators: Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France.
After all, France currently kills around 500 people a day in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s hard to imagine that ten to twelve million people from all over the world will be on the side of the road in France in less than three months.
But those responsible have a hard time refusing, the organizer ASO has set a deadline of May 15 for a decision. After all, “Le Tour” is not just any sporting event, the largest bicycle race in the world is considered a national shrine in France, a huge folk festival.
Every year in July, numerous places are adorned in yellow, even a visit by the French head of state is a must. No matter whether Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande or Emmanuel Macron, who watched the Tourmalet in 2019. Not even the bad doping years in the dark Armstrong era could bring the race to its knees. An event “of the greatest importance”, as Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu emphasizes. Only during the two world wars did the race pause between 1914 and 1919 and between 1939 and 1947.
Various mind games are already running – all with the aim of saving the Tour de France 2020.
Maracineanu started an event without a spectator – similar to the Paris-Nice tour in March. A variant with which Tour Four Emanuel Buchmann could make friends. “We are all motivated for the tour, whether with or without a spectator. From that point of view, that would clearly be better than nothing,” said the 27-year-old Ravensburger of the “Sport-Bild”.
Tour manager Christian Prudhomme rejects this. A shift is more likely. Because the staging of the tour is of existential importance for many teams. 70 to 80 percent of the sponsorship values are generated during the three weeks during the Grande Boucle. “If the Tour de France takes place, we will get away with it. The tour is the most important event of the year, not only for us, but also for our sponsors. When that takes place, you can look over everything else generously,” said Ralph Think as the team boss of the German racing team Bora-hansgrohe of the German press agency.
The world association UCI is faced with a big puzzle when redesigning the calendar. The first component is the tour, then the other big tours and finally the classics like Paris-Roubaix. “We have the Tour, the Giro, the Tour of Spain and five great classics. If you somehow accommodate this year, the cycling year is still saved,” says Denk.
The bikes will stand still until June 1st, but probably longer. Prudhomme wants the tour to take place, and not in the interest of the tour. “In the name of Tour de France, the most important word is ‘France’. The health situation in the country is what matters. If it does not take place (the tour), it means that the country is in a catastrophic situation,” Prudhomme told the Internet portal “Sports-Auvergne.fr”.
According to UCI Vice President Renato Di Rocco, there are three possible dates for the restart of the season: July 1st, July 15th or August 1st. Di Rocco saw this through several Italian media. According to this, the drivers should then be given a 30-day preparation time with smaller races. The tour could then begin, possibly in August.