2020 Tour de France with no audience? – Top Story. Riders have their say on the Tour, training, future worries, not racing and the Classics in the autumn. Coronavirus still making the headlines: Pierino Gavazzi critical, Fernando Gaviria out of hospital, 2021 Olympics in the summer, 2020 Vuelta preparations in Holland, Astana, Lotto Soudal and Burgos-BH cut wages, Lizzie Deignan postpones retirement, virtual Tour de Suisse 2020 and Movistar team video on Netflix. Look after yourselves out there.
TOP STORY: Tour de France behind Closed Doors?
The postponement of the Olympics, alongside many other major global events of the year has put the spotlight on the biggest cycling event of the year. As far as ASO, the organiser of the Tour de France, is concerned the French Grand Tour will start on June 27th, 2020 in Nice, and even the Dauphiné criterium is still on the cards for May 31, 2020.
French sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, also wants the Tour de France to run in 2020, but maybe at a later date and behind closed doors. According to the minister, the presence of the public at the start and finish points should be banned as well as all roadside gatherings. She also pointed out that the financing of the Tour is not based on ticket sales, but on media money and sponsorship. “In this period of confinement, everyone is aware and responsible. Everybody has understood the benefits of staying at home and therefore preferring the television show rather than the live show.” She believes that the Tour could be postponed to August or September since the calendar is now free of the Olympic Games.
ASO are allegedly considering several options, including the not having a publicity caravan, but are not interested in a race behind closed doors. The riders, team managers and sponsors would, in general, like the Tour de France to go ahead but would accept the cancellation if the corona virus crisis was still a danger to everyones health. The riders even accept the idea of starting the event with unequal fitness. In France and Spain, riders can only train at home with the hope of being able to get back on the road before the end of May. In an interview with L’Equipe, Thibault Pinot feels that foreign riders not under total ‘lockdown’ are right to continue ride outdoors, but he would rather not see them post their training runs on social network.
According to RTBF, ASO has set Friday 15 May as the deadline for a final decision on the 107th edition of the Tour de France.
Some local authorities from stages towns have expressed their opinion on the subject. “It is impossible,” warns Pascale Schwartz of the municipality of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. “How can you prevent people from standing along the route? We cannot put security down every five meters to comply with such a decision.” That view is shared by Eric Houlley, Mayor of Lure. “We are not here to save TV rights. It is all or nothing!”
All eyes are now on the ASO and President Christian Prudhomme, who has already informed Mayors that he is currently not planning a cancellation or course behind closed doors. May 1 would be a crucial date, but according to information from the Belgian broadcaster, ASO has set Friday 15 May as the deadline for a final decision on the Tour de France. If the Tour continues, stage towns still have plenty of time to set up the organisation.
Marc Madiot on Closed Door Tour
Marc Madiot is not against ASO’s plan to have the Tour de France take place behind closed doors. “A Tour in July can symbolise a new period after the crisis,” the team manager of Groupama-FDJ told the French newspaper Libération.
“It is not technically an easy task for ASO, but there is television and the Tour is the beginning of a period in which we can slowly return to old life. It would be good for the cycling economy and the French people if we could live a bit normal again in July. I really hope the Tour can take place in July,” said the two-time winner of Paris-Roubaix. “See it as a bright spot for the people, it is good for morality. It may be idle hope, but we also need to hold onto something. Should the Tour indeed continue, it means that the situation will normalise after a period of lockdown.”
Julian Alaphilippe Doesn’t Want to Think About a Tour without Fans
Julian Alaphilippe has two thoughts. On one hand, the Frenchman isn’t keen on a Tour de France run without fans, but on the other hand, Alaphilippe thinks that everyone would still be happy if the largest cycling race in the world were to take place, without an audience.
“I would be torn if the Tour de France were canceled or continued without an audience. It would really be exceptional. I prefer not to think about it. It certainly wouldn’t be great,” said Alaphilippe. “The audience belongs to the Tour de France.”
“If we have to do it, we will do it. But I prefer to imagine that the virus will disappear and that the Tour de France will continue with the public,” he told RCM Sport. “A Tour without an audience wouldn’t be the same, but if it can go ahead at all, I think everyone will still be happy.”
It is difficult to talk about the Tour de France, if nothing is clear. “It’s all unknown for now,” he added. “I have had David Lappartient on the phone and they are trying to set a date for us to resume racing. Only then can we start talking about goals again.”
Not the same without the podium:
Warren Barguil on a ‘Closed Doors’ Tour de France
Warren Barguil in conversation with Ouest-France, wonders if a ‘Closed doors’ Tour is possible. “We cannot prohibit people from standing by the side of the road. I don’t know if it’s feasible,” said the Arkéa-Samsic climber.
Much has been said and written about the 2010 Tour de France. Can the Tour continue due to the coronavirus and if so, in what form? ASO is thinking of an edition without an advertising caravan and without an audience at the start and finish. “I just looked back a stage from the 2017 Tour and saw such a big audience standing by the side of the road. I immediately thought: it is impossible to have a Tour take place behind closed doors,” said Barguil.
“It is possible in a stadium, but not during a cycling race. We must then place as many fences as possible over a distance of 200 kilometres, but also involve more police officers to check everything. Many people would like to see the Tour on television, especially after this difficult time, but is it possible at all?” A Tour behind closed doors or moving the event: Barguil doesn’t have to think long about such a dilemma. “Then I hope they move the race. The most important thing is that the Tour continues this year, but it’s not just an event for the athletes. We also have to think of the many enthusiastic spectators.”
Now that the Olympic Games have been postponed to 2021, the Tour organisation may have room to move on the cycling calendar. “The Tour may start a little later now,” Barguil thinks. “I don’t really expect that we will race in the Tour. But if we can resume normal life in May, a thorough preparation for the Tour is still possible.”
What about the plans of Matteo Trentin. The Italian suggested one big European Tour. “Starting in Rome, passing through Madrid and arriving in Paris” is his idea. “It is really impossible. You don’t let Audi and Porsche build a car together for the Le Mans 24 hours!” Barguil points out. “The ASO and RCS have their own ideas and interests and will not work together. You also have to deal with two companies with personnel, what do you do with all employees? No, that is really a utopia. We may be thinking about shortening the Grand Tours to two weeks. That is a more realistic scenario.”
Warren Barguil with the fans at the Tour’19:
Nicolas Roche: “Difficult to Predict a Tour Without an Audience”
Nicolas Roche understands that Roxana Maracineanu, Sport’s French minister, is thinking about the Tour de France taking place behind closed doors, but the Irishman sees more problems: “When you do something for the first time, it is difficult to predict how it will turn out. I wonder if France will allow foreigners to enter the country again at the start of the Tour de France. How will the police arrange everything? Are people no longer allowed to watch the Tour de France in their garden?”
There will also be economic problems, says Roche. “People have already booked their accommodation far in advance, the hotels will depend on tourism. Cities have paid a lot to be the start or finish place. It is very complicated,” he said to Mirror Sport. “But there is still a long way to go. In any case, I would like to race.”
Nico Roche at La Vuelta:
Pierino Gavazzi in Critical Condition in Hospital with Coronavirus
Pierino Gavazzi has been in critical condition for nearly two weeks in Ome hospital in northern Italy. The 69-year-old Italian former cyclist and former Milan-San Remo winner is infected with the coronavirus. His lungs are in an increasingly poor condition. His son Mattia Gavazzi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“On Monday March 16, we received a call from the ambulance service. They had brought my father to Ome (just east of Bergamo),” said Mattia Gavazzi, who was also a professional up to 2016. “They picked him up at around 3:30 and arrived around 11 in the clinic because it was so busy. He was oxygenating there for a few hours. Then he was tested positive for the coronavirus.”
“He’s fighting,” says Mattia. “Two days later, we were called by a doctor that his lung condition had deteriorated significantly. My father was on his side and was struggling. The situation is very critical, so we must be prepared for the worst. He then received an oxygen mask, so not everything is lost. I also feel that he has not lost the will to fight.”
Pierino Gavazzi added Milan-San Remo to his palmarès in 1980, ahead of Giuseppe Saronni and Jan Raas. He was also Italian champion three times and won five stages in the Giro d’Italia between 1974 and 1981.
Fernando Gaviria Discharged from Hospital
Good news for Fernando Gaviria: The Colombian sprinter left hospital in Abu Dhabi after his latest tests for the corona virus proved negative. “I’m going back home now,” Gaviria said on Instagram.
Gaviria announced two weeks ago that he had tested positive for the coronavirus after the UAE Tour, he had suffered a high fever for six hours. There were no further symptoms of the corona virus, said Gaviria in a video, and soon after he said he felt good.
However, the South American had to undergo some tests in recent days, but was declared clear by the medical personnel at the Abu Dhabi hospital. “I want to thank everyone for the great medical help and support. My last tests were negative and I can finally go back home to my family. I hope that this exceptional situation will soon end and that we can resume normal life,” said Gaviria. His UAE teammate Maximiliano Richeze was released from hospital on Wednesday after negative tests for the corona virus.
All clear for Fernando:
Olympic Games in the summer of 2021?
According to Japanese sources, the organising committee of the Tokyo Olympics plans to host the Games from July 23 to August 8. The committee hopes to reach an agreement with the IOC and local politicians by the end of next week.
Last Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee decided – after consultation with the Japanese government – to postpone the Olympics by one year to 2021 due to the corona crisis. “The Games should be postponed to a date after 2020, but no later than the summer of 2021,” was the first response. IOC chairman Thomas Bach subsequently announced that there were several options on the calendar, but the organising committee now seems to prefer an Olympic Games in the summer of 2021. The Games in Tokyo in Japan were on the calendar this year. July 24 to August 9.
In this way, the organisers want to give more time to the various government agencies to contain the virus, but also to make the selection procedures and preparations as smooth as possible. The Paralympic Games must be held from August 24 to September 5.
For the riders who want to combine the Tour de France and the Olympic Games: The 2021 Tour de France starts on Friday, July 2 and ends three weeks later on Sunday, July 25. When drawing up the program, the question will be when the Olympic cycling events will on the program.
Summer 2021 Olympics?
Vuelta Preparations in Holland Continue
The 75th edition of the Vuelta a España will start on Friday, August 14 in Utrecht, but race director Javier Guillén will look, with some concern, at the further spread of the corona virus. In the Netherlands, preparations are “going ahead” for the time being, leader of the organising committee told BN DeStem.
As project leader of the organising committee ‘La Vuelta Holanda’, Martijn van Hulsteijn is still busy preparing the start of the Tour of Spain down to the last detail. “We obviously have many questions that we cannot answer, but preparations such as applying for permits and making safety plans continue.”
“We can’t stop there,” says Van Hulsteijn. “Otherwise we would run out of time if the Vuelta continues anyway.” A spokesman for the municipality of Den Bosch, the start point of the second stage to Utrecht, said: “We cannot afford to do nothing for a month now, but we are still postponing the reservation of stages.”
Guillén takes into account different scenarios now that every country has taken measures regarding the corona virus, but for the time being the Spaniard and his team are sticking to the plans as they presented them earlier. “What’s the point of working on new stages now if we don’t know which stages could not be held?”
The official kick-off of the Dutch program of the Tour of Spain has in any case been postponed due to the corona virus. In the run-up to the start of the Vuelta, events on Wednesday 29 April in Breda, Den Bosch and Utrecht, among others, were scheduled, but are now canceled.
Who knows what will happen by August?
Steven Kruijswijk: “The motivation is hard to find”
Steven Kruijswijk is one of the many cyclists who is currently limited to his training due to the corona crisis. Kruijswijk lives in Monaco, where it is forbidden to train outside, just like in France and Spain. “The motivation is hard to find,” said the Jumbo-Visma rider to the AD.
His last training run was on Tuesday, March 17th, a ride of 145 kilometres with more than 3,000 meters climbing. Since then, Kruijswijk has had to try and maintain his condition, but… “I have never been a fan of indoor training. Cycling for me really starts outside, on the road. Cycling is an emergency solution indoors.”
“How long can you keep that up, train indoors? I can still do a week, but you don’t even know what you’re doing it for. What if the whole season is canceled? That creates a lot of uncertainty.” Kruijswijk can now spend more time with his family. “But I would have preferred that under other circumstances.”
The Tour de France might go ahead without the public, Kruijswijk has his thoughts: “Even without an audience, the Tour remains a traveling circus with lots of people. But whether it is a solution that justifies continuing the Tour? Say it… Then at least we have something on television, but whether it is realistic?”
“First of all, it must be safe and there must be no health risks anymore. Then it could be, but then there should not be a risk that we as the Tour will help get the spread going again. Without an audience you still talk about a traveling circus of more than a thousand people. That’s still a lot of people together.”
Kruijswijk does not only look at the possible health risks. “If we only know for sure that it will take place three weeks in advance, how should we prepare? You normally work towards the Tour for a year, but we may have to keep training indoors until then. How can we be up to standard? It may be a bit naive of the organisation.”
Philippe Gilbert Worried for the Future
Philippe Gilbert is concerned about the financial consequences of the corona crisis for cycling sponsorship. Possible cancellation of the Tour de France would have major consequences for cycling, that he expects, but the crisis also will affect his bike shop in Monaco.
No Tour de France would be a disaster for the cyclists, Gilbert said in a Facebook Live session with Sporza. “Many sponsors are only in the racing environment for the Tour. Winning the Tour of Flanders doesn’t mean anything to a Polish or American sponsor. The Tour is important to every sponsor. The advertising, for example, an escape in the Tour is enormous, but nobody speaks about an escape in a classic.”
He does not know what consequences the corona crisis will have, but it is certain that the economy is struggling. “I know what I’m talking about. I have a small bicycle shop. The revenues are zero, but the costs remain. Five more days and then I have to put my own money in my shop. We are small, but that is the case for many people. We are the sport and the sport is only a small thing against the whole economy.”
French President Emmanuel Macron reassured entrepreneurs a week and a half ago by reassuring that no French company of any size will fall due to the crisis. “They can have a paper filled in, but I still want to see when that money will come,” Gilbert responds. “It will take maybe six months. By then you will be bankrupt. The usual costs of life, such as food, drinks, but also the heating, remain. That is not easy.”
Philippe Gilbert happier in February:
Zdenek Stybar on Not Racing
Zdeněk Štybar should have defended his title in the E3 BinckBank Classic, but the cycling world has come to a complete standstill. “Not to race, it is harder than expected,” said the Czech classic specialist on the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team web-site.
34-year-old Štybar says he was ready for the most important spring classics. “I have worked very hard in the past period and my winter was very good. I managed to win early in the year in Argentina (Vuelta a San Juan), and I was hungry for more success. In Paris-Nice I felt that the shape was at the top.
The former cyclocross world champion was eagerly looking forward to the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, his two main goals this spring. “Unfortunately, it is all canceled now. We can now only hope that the situation will normalise again as soon as possible,” said Štybar, who is struggling with his “new life.”
“It is not easy mentally. Of course I will continue to train, although I do not now go on training rides of 200 kilometres. It is difficult and frustrating to train without a goal. However, it does give you a new view of the world, it’s not about cycling now. It is now about real life.” The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider can now also spend more time with his family. “I normally always have a suitcase with me, but it is now in the basement, which is strange. The advantage is that I can now spend more time with, for example, my son. That is very nice.”
Stybar in Kuurne:
Van der Poel on Classics in the Autumn
Mathieu van der Poel hopes that the classics will still take place. The Dutchman is even prepared to give them priority over the cyclocross season, if the classics are held in the autumn. “I still hope that I will be able to ride the classics this year,” says Van der Poel in an interview in Het Laatste Nieuws. “I’m ready to give them priority to the next cyclocross season. But I certainly don’t want to be the one to reschedule them.”
“In fact, a cyclist always lives a bit in quarantine,” said Van der Poel about the current situation. “I am used to this regime. What I miss most are the goals and the races.” Yet it also offers opportunities. “I’ve been going from goal to goal for a few years now. This forced stop is an opportunity for me to take a mental break.”
Van der Poel should be winning Classics now:
Lizzie Deignan Postpones Retirement: “I want to go to the Games of 2021”
Lizzie Deignan has repeatedly stated that she will stop as a cyclist after the 2020 Olympic Games, but the British rider will continue for a year longer now that the International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the Games by a year.
“I have the motivation to participate in the 2021 Games,” said 31-year-old Deignan in conversation with the British news agency PA News. “It will be really very special Games. I’m not thinking about quitting right now, especially after deciding to postpone the event.”
The Trek-Segafredo rider became a mother in September 2018 and made her comeback to the cycling peloton after a break of a year and a half. Deignan soon showed that she had not been forgotten how to win in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. In this uncertain period, Deignan is already focusing on 2021, especially the spring classics and the Tokyo Olympics. The experienced rider won a silver medal at the London Games eight years ago behind Marianne Vos.
“I have only completed 21 race days since my return, but I trained a lot. I don’t want to end as a professional cyclist this way. I want to start again at the start of the spring classics and the Games,” says Deignan.
Astana Cuts Salaries Due to the Corona Crisis
Astana will pay riders and staff less salary in the next three months. According to AS, there will be a reduction of at least 30%.
In early March, it was announced that Astana – not for the first time – was struggling with staff payment problems. The team confirmed that not all wages from the first months of 2020 had been paid, but also promised to solve those problems quickly. Now the corona crisis is added to that problem. Spanish sources report that the team of manager Alexander Vinokourov will be cutting salaries in the coming period. Lotto Soudal (where riders give up parts of their salary) and Burgos-BH (where riders are temporarily fired) already announced that they would take measures in this uncertain, raceless period.
Vinokourov the cut wages:
Lotto Soudal Forced to Take Measures to Cope with Difficult Circumstances
The impact of Covid-19 has its consequences on the entire UCI WorldTeam Lotto Soudal. Cycling races are canceled or postponed, leaving 25 staff members unemployed. Riders and other staff members voluntarily waive part of their wages.
Not only is there great commitment, compassion and solidarity with all people affected by the disease, the Lotto Soudal cycling team is also supportive of the partners of the team who are now going through a difficult economic period. The team remains extremely active, but the most important thing, scoring by winning races, has become impossible.
Postponement of races also affects the majority of support staff. Mechanics, soigneurs, physiotherapists and bus drivers are forced to step back and become temporarily unemployed. For the moment, the employees will fall back on the system of temporary unemployment due to force majeure. Self-employed personnel, whose contract is temporarily suspended, will be able to benefit from bridging finance support measures. All these measures by the Belgian government make it possible for companies to reduce their personnel costs even without having to fire people. In less than a month, more than 1 million people have ended up in temporary unemployment in Belgium.
The 27 riders of the Lotto Soudal team, meanwhile, continue to train to be competition ready as soon as races are organised again. In solidarity with staff and sponsors, the riders, just like the entire management team and all administrative staff, have voluntarily decided to waive part of their wages, until the team races again. This decision was taken without discussion and with unanimity. It was clear to everyone that particular circumstances require particular team actions.
Burgos-BH Applies for Temporary Benefits for Riders and Staff
Burgos-BH has applied for a temporary allowance for all twenty riders and part of the staff because of the corona crisis. They are temporarily dismissed and, if the application is approved, receive an unemployment benefit until the races are resumed. The team told AS.
“This applies to employees with long-term contracts and people with contracts from January 1 to December 31, 2020,” said director David Cantera. “In theory, this situation will last as long as the state of emergency continues. Then we have to see when we can return to competition.”
The ProConti team is the first professional cycling team in Spain to apply for the ERTE. Several football clubs have also done this for staff and players. The survival of Burgos-BH is not jeopardised: the team is subsidised by the province and the municipality of Burgos and also has long-term contracts with other sponsors.
The men in purple:
World’s Best Professional Cycling Teams Gear up for The Digital Swiss 5
The world’s top professional cycling teams are preparing to do battle against each other next month in “The Digital Swiss 5” – a series of five individual races on parts of the same parcours planned for the Tour de Suisse 2020.
The world’s top professional cycling teams are preparing to do battle against each other next month in “The Digital Swiss 5” – a series of five individual races on parts of the same parcours planned for the Tour de Suisse 2020.
Velon is working with the organisers of the Tour de Suisse and the ROUVY Indoor Cycling Reality platform to bring racing to fans everywhere whilst respecting the global restrictions on everyday life as a result of the COVID19 pandemic.
Top WorldTour team riders will get on their “smart” trainers for five races over five consecutive days and go all-out over some of the most challenging parts of the Tour de Suisse parcours. The ROUVY platform uses real video footage of the roads and riders are represented by 3D avatars wearing their team kit and riding their own team’s bikes.
Invitations to participate have been sent to all teams who are scheduled to race in this year’s Tour de Suisse, which is due to be held in June.
Each team will have three riders and their live data – speed, power and cadence – will be on display, continuing the pioneering work done by Velon in partnership with the world’s biggest race organisers, broadcasters and digital platforms over the past four years. Some of the riders will have webcams on them so viewers can see their faces as they push out the watts.
The riders’ bikes will be connected to “smart” trainers, which have surged in popularity as the COVID19 virus has forced millions of people to stay at home. The trainers pair with the platform and the riders watch the course and their position on their monitor in real-time. As the profile of the course goes uphill and downhill, the trainer automatically applies more or less resistance.
The races, each lasting approximately one hour, are scheduled for Wednesday, 22nd April – Sunday, 26th April. Full details on how fans can watch will be announced soon. Viewers in Switzerland will be able to watch live on the national broadcaster, SRF.
Michael Matthews, Team Sunweb, said: “These are difficult times for everyone at the moment and this is a really cool way for us to interact with our fans and race when standard racing is not possible. It gives us something to be motivated to do and be excited for when everything else is so uncertain. I personally am really looking forward to watching and maybe even racing myself.”
Luke Roberts, Sport Director, Team Sunweb, said: “This is a great e-sports opportunity for us and fans to still engage with racing under circumstances that mean a traditional approach to racing is not possible. For most cycling enthusiasts, riding outside is not permitted and this interactive approach gives professionals and fans alike a way to enjoy a race in a safe way in the current situation.”
Bauke Mollema, Trek-Segafredo, said: “I have great memories from Tour de Suisse including a stage win in 2013 and a 2nd, 3rd and 5th place in GC. I love riding in the mountains and on Swiss roads. I was looking forward to racing again, but obviously this is uncertain at the moment. To stay in shape and keep competitive form, I am riding a lot of hours on our Saris Smart Trainer but I’ve never actually participated in a virtual race. It seems like a great way to stay fit and test my condition against other pro riders.”
Grégory Rast, Sport Director, Trek-Segafredo, said: “I think it’s a great idea for the riders to keep motivated and have a goal that is similar to an actual race. At the present no racing is taking place and in some countries you can’t even ride outside, so many of our riders are training indoors on smart trainers. For our team Tour de Suisse is a great, important race and hopefully this year’s edition will not be cancelled. I’m Swiss so for me it is the best race in the world.”
Swiss rider Stefan Küng said: “I love cycling because it takes place outside and in all weathers but in these extraordinary times, when some of my team colleagues can only train in their own homes and all races are cancelled until further notice, such novel digital races are certainly an exciting addition. It is also attractive for our sponsors as it allows them to regain attention.”
Grischa Niermann, Team Jumbo-Visma coach, said: “During this difficult period where public health is more important than cycling races, we are open to try out new indoor cycling concepts. Online racing is growing rapidly and we are very curious how it will work out to battle with our competitors. Not on the road, but from our own houses this time.”
Key information about The Digital Swiss 5
○ Wednesday April 22 – Sunday April 26 (start times tbc), one race per day, each race duration approximately 1hr
● Participating teams
○ Full list of teams to be confirmed
○ Each team will have three riders
○ Each race will be on the ROUVY Indoor Cycling Reality platform: https://rouvy.com/en/ and will take place on routes scheduled to be used in the Tour de Suisse 2020: https://www.tourdesuisse.ch/en/
● How to watch
○ Details to follow
ROUVY blends real-life footage with Augmented Reality and 3D avatars:
‘The Least Expected Day’ Series Now Available on Netflix
Six-episode series, an unprecedented look at cycling’s three Grand Tours embedded in the Telefónica-backed squad during 2019, airs globally on Netflix from last Friday.
The documentary ‘The Least Expected Day’, a six-episode series produced by Telefónica Broadcast Services (TBS) on the Movistar Team, the longest-standing team in cycling’s top tier UCI WorldTour, was made available globally on Friday. The series, more than three hours in length, is a thorough story, with unprecedented access, around the Telefónica-backed squad’s 2019, with focused on the three Grand Tours of the sport: the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
Filmed over eight months in locations across Europe and Latin America, from the team’s headquarters in Pamplona (Spain) to the interior of Ecuador’s northern Carchi province, ‘The Least Expected Day’ (available on Netflix worldwide from Friday, and also to customers of Movistar’s own Spanish platform as a weekly series on their sports channel #Vamos) brings its cameras into the daily activities of the Movistar Team, looking to show the feelings and reactions of its main members. The Blue outfit opened TBS its doors at every pre-race meeting at the team bus, their hotel rooms during the massage, breakfast and dinner, and of course, the team cars where all the shots are called during the most important events of the cycling season.
‘The Least Expected Day’ shows the inside story of Richard Carapaz’s overall success in the Giro, the 15th Grand Tour GC victory conquered by Eusebio Unzué’s structure. It also follows the footsteps of Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa as they clash for team leadership during the Tour de France. Plus, it tells the story of Alejandro Valverde’s season in rainbow colours, crowned with a second place overall in the Vuelta a España.
The team’s home Grand Tour also marked the end of an era for the Movistar Team, with its fourth decade as a structure coming to a close, and a new beginning for the Blues, also covered in detail at the series. The collection of unique images is completed by interviews, unfiltered and full of sincerity, with the riders, sports directors and the staff supporting them over 15 countries every year, for a combined 26,723 kilometres during the three Grand Tours in 2019.
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