Another load of EUROTRASH news to get through. Is the Tour de France going to start at the end of August? Top Story. COVID-19 is still ruining everything. Quintana blames Valverde for his Tour loss, Vuelta updates, no Tour of the Basque Country, Clásica San Sebastián and DeutschlandTour, Tour or European Football Championship for Copenhagen, Valverde talks Tours, John Lelangue happy with business model, Cadel Evans on Van der Poel and Evenepoel, Ganna Hour Record, Evenepoel up the Muur, Matthews quarantined, Bernal, Quintana and Italians training, Bigla-Katusha and Gaviria training again. Stay safe out there.
TOP STORY: New Tour de France Start Date at Risk
The Tour de France is again in uncertainty. French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced that all major events are prohibited until September 1.
The Tour start has already been moved from late June to August 29, but according to the extended measures, that would still be too early. The French Ministry of Sport, however, alludes to an exception. “The fact that the major sporting events cannot continue until the end of August does not mean that the Tour will be postponed or canceled,” the French ministry said. “It may have consequences for the number of spectators.”
Prime Minister Philippe announced on Tuesday in the French Parliament that all events with more than five thousand spectators will not be licensed until at least September 1. Following the example of Dutch football, the French football league has also been permanently discontinued.
The extension of the measures will also affect the Bretagne Classic (August 23) and the Critérium du Dauphiné, which would be moved to August.
The 2020 Tour de France should finish in Paris, but when?
Quintana Not Happy With Valverde
Nairo Quintana is convinced that he could have won the Tour de France in 2015. Although he was winning a lot of time back on Chris Froome in the penultimate stage to Alpe d’Huez, he still lost the race and he holds Alejandro Valverde responsible for that.
In an interview with ESPN Bike, he looks back on that painful day for him. “During that ride to Alpe d’Huez, we started with a clear strategy. Some team mates cooperated very well, others did not. There was a certain point during that ride when it became impossible for me to win the Tour and that was because of a teammate. The rider in question knows what it is about,” says the Colombian without mentioning a name. However, the accusation is clearly addressed to ex-teammate Valverde.
Quintana had good legs that day, but found an opponent in his former teammate rather than a source of support. Because Valverde attacked twice himself, Quintana had to chase after him, which was in Froome’s favour. “I remember it as a sad day, because of the opportunity that passed me by,” says Quintana now.
The 30-year-old rider finished 1:12 down on Froome in Paris, Valverde was third at 5:25. The Colombian left Movistar to ride with Arkéa-Samsic in 2020.
Valverde’s riding probably helped Froome save his Tour lead in 2015:
The Official Departure of La Vuelta 20 From The Netherlands is Cancelled
The official departure of La Vuelta 20 that was going to take place in the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant is cancelled.
The exceptional worldwide situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the organising committee of La Vuelta Holanda and Unipublic to cancel the official departure.
Both parties are already working towards resuming the La Vuelta official departure from the Netherlands project, using the year 2022 as a potential start date.
La Vuelta 20 will not take off from the Netherlands. Due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the organising committee of La Vuelta Holanda has been forced to cancel the official departure of the race from the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant.
The local organisation committee and Unipublic have been forced to make this decision as a result of the reorganisation of the 2020 cycling calendar announced by the UCI (International Cycling Union) on the 15th of April and due to the measures that have recently been implemented by the Dutch government forbidding the celebration of sporting events until the 1st of September. All of this now places the celebration of La Vuelta after the Cycling World Championships and not during its original dates (14th of August – 6th of September).
Despite both parties’ wishes to try to maintain the official departure from Utrecht, it has not been possible to find a new date in which to hold said project, given the new constraints. “The departure of La Vuelta 20 from Holland was a project that had been designed as a big summer party. Faced with the impossibility of ensuring the planned development of the race’s official departure, with all of the required guarantees for an event of these characteristics, La Vuelta Holanda has preferred to request the official departure’s cancellation,” they have stated.
La Vuelta Holanda Director, Martijn van Hulsteijn: “It is clear that there is great disappointment in Utrecht, Breda, ’s-Hertogenbosch and the provinces of Utrecht and Noord-Brabant. We were ready to organise a fantastic event in the weekend of the 14th, 15th and 16th of August. Since we heard of the change in the UCI calendar, we have discussed with all parties to find out if the start in the autumn would be possible, but it turned out to be too difficult of an assignment. Moving three stages, on three days, through 34 municipalities with start and finish places in various places turned out to be a bridge too far. For example, we did not have all the needed infrastructures at our disposal. In addition, a lot of road works were carried out around the 34 participating municipalities in the autumn. The impact would be too great. Even if you leave the desirability and uncertainty in Corona time out of the discussion.”
Jan van Zanen, mayor of Utrecht, on behalf of the three cities and two provinces involved in the organisation of the official start: “We were all looking forward to celebrate a Spanish fiesta in all the participating municipalities. But it turns out not be technically feasible and we have concluded there is too much uncertainty about the development of the coronavirus. A huge disappointment, but health comes first.”
“The change to the calendar resulted in a modification of the original program. We discussed this with our Dutch partners, with whom we have worked in absolute harmony and in complete collaboration. We realised that it would be impossible to carry out this project under these new constraints”, explained the General Director of Unipublic, Javier Guillén. “It is a complicated decision, one you never want to make, but which we have found ourselves compelled to do due to the complex circumstances we are currently living, which surpass any foreseeable expectation,” he added.
La Vuelta 22 on the Horizon
Unipublic and La Vuelta Holanda are working on the possibility of the Netherlands hosting the official departure in the very near future. The first potential start date being discussed for the country to host the La Vuelta departure is 2022, but with no certainties. In this sense, Javier Guillén has insisted that resuming the departure from Holland is “a priority” for the organisation. “We have seen so much enthusiasm and a very high degree of involvement. It is a pleasure to work like this. The very least we can do is to begin exploring the possibility of departing from the Netherlands in the near future, and we trust that we will be able to do so as soon as possible,” he specified.
More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com
No Dutch start for La Vuelta in 2020:
La Vuelta 20 will Consist of 18 Stages and will Start in The Basque Country
La Vuelta 20 will take off from the Basque Country with the stage Irun – Arrate. Eibar – and will end in Madrid.
Following the cancellation of La Vuelta 20’s official departure, originally going to be held in the Netherlands, Unipublic has decided not to replace the first three stages, and has consequently informed the UCI and the RFEC (Royal Federation of Spanish Cycling) in the aim that the cycling regulatory body would be able to reorganise the calendar with a Vuelta consisting of 20 days, instead of the original 23.
With this new configuration, the 75th edition of La Vuelta will be a historical one. 18 stages in total: the first one in the Basque Country, almost five decades later.
The La Vuelta organisation, in accordance with the UCI (International Cycling Union), agreed to delay the race’s 75th edition. La Vuelta 20 was originally going to take place from the 14th of August to the 6th of September, departing from the Netherlands. However, the necessary reorganisation of the annual cycling calendar, due to the global health crisis caused by COVID-19, has forced these plans to change. In the end, La Vuelta 20 – whose new dates haven’t been determinate by the UCI yet – will consist of 18 stages and will take off from the Basque Country.
Following the official cancelation of La Vuelta 20’s official departure from the Netherlands, Unipublic, as the race organiser, has decided not to replace the three first stages – which were going to travel through the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant – and instead begin the Spanish tour with the Irun – Arrate. Eibar stage. This is what has been communicated to the UCI in the aim that the cycling regulatory body could be able to reorganise the calendar with a Vuelta consisting of 20 days, instead of the original 23.
This decision has been motivated by the exceptional situation brought about by the health crisis currently affecting every industry, including sports. “Obviously, when you design the race, you hope to never have to make changes of this magnitude, but we have to be sensible with the current situation and we have to accept that it is very difficult to replace an official departure at this late stage, given all the institutional and logistic planning that it involves,” stated Javier Guillén, Director of La Vuelta.
A Historical Edition
With its new configuration, La Vuelta’s 75th edition will be a historical race in many aspects. It will be the first time in the past 35 years that it consists of fewer than 21 stages. The last time this happened was in 1985, with an edition featuring 19 stages. It will also be the first time since Unipublic took over control of the race in 1979 that La Vuelta will take off from the Basque Country. It has been almost five decades since Euskadi last hosted the race’s official departure. In 1961, La Vuelta took off from San Sebastián, with a team time trial featuring both the starting-line and finish-line in the city.
“To have that passion for cycling that is so present in the Basque Country from the very first day makes this change in plans much more pleasant,” added Guillén. “In any case, we only hope that this unprecedented health crisis is resolved soon, that we can all return to normal, including La Vuelta – that will again consist of its traditional format and duration of 21 stages and two rest days in 2021.” he concluded.
More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com
Basque start for La Vuelta’20:
Tour of the Basque Country and Clásica San Sebastián Set Sights on 2021
The UCI has yet to come up with a reformed calendar, but don’t look for the Tour of the Basque Country and the Clásica San Sebastián. In a press release, organiser Ciclistas Euskadi has announced that it will definitively focus on 2021. “The health risks are too great,” they said.
The Tour of the Basque Country was initially scheduled for April 6-11, but the organisation had to postpone the tour after major corona measures from the Spanish government. The UCI was then given the task of finding a new place on the race calendar. Early August was first thought of, but the race is now canceled.
“There are thousands of people who come to the Tour of the Basque Country and the Clásica San Sebastián. We definitely don’t want to cause another corona outbreak and spread. Furthermore, this is not the time to ask municipalities and government agencies for help. It’s time to give something back to society and invest the money in things like disease control.” Said organiSer Julián Eraso. “It is of course a painful decision, since we really looked for a new date. We have been in contact with the UCI and it was possible to organise the Tour of the Basque Country in early August, followed by the Clásica San Sebastián. We just don’t believe in mass events right now.”
“We want to thank everyone and we are now fully focused on 2021.” Ciclistas Euskadi will probably have little work to do on the Tour of the Basque Country next year, after agreements with the municipalities and cities involved to organise the planned stages of this year next season.
Remco Evenepoel was a strong winner of the Clásica San Sebastián in 2019:
Copenhagen may have to choose between Tour de France and European Football Championship in 2021
Copenhagen faces a dilemma. The Danish capital will be one of the twelve host cities of the European Football Championship next year, but will also host the start of the Tour de France, but it is uncertain whether it can accommodate both events.
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the European Football Championship, which was supposed to take place this year, has been postponed to next summer. Three group matches and one game from the eighth finals are scheduled in the Parken stadium in the capital of Denmark. There is a week between the last football match in Copenhagen and the Tour start, but there is also the official team presentation, in the week prior to the Tour that attracts many visitors.
“We work 24 hours a day to find solutions,” said Jesper Møller, president of the Danish Football Association. According to him, the authorities doubt whether they can organise both sporting events. “If it is up to us, we will work it out. But we are dealing with multiple parties. I estimate the chance on 50/50 that it will continue. But last month I thought that the chance was 25%, so we made progress in that regard. We are not ready yet, UEFA knows that too.”
The European football association UEFA would like to have a decision of the twelve host cities by Thursday 30 April at the latest. The other host cities for the European Championship are Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome and Saint Petersburg. The Tour de France 2021 starts on Friday July 2 with a time trial in Copenhagen. The first three stages go through Denmark.
Germany Stops the Deutschland Tour
The German government has banned all major sporting events until August 31. Due to this measure, the Deutschland Tour (August 20-23) cannot take place this year.
The German stage race has not chosen a new date in 2020, but focuses on next year. “As great as the disappointment is at the moment, the current situation and the decision of the German authorities make it clear that the Deutschland Tour cannot take place this year,” said Claude Rach on behalf of the organisation.
“I want to thank all partners, sponsors, participants and fans for their support and understanding. We are already working hard to postpone this event to next August.”
The Deutschland Tour was won last year by Jasper Stuyven. The Trek-Segafredo rider was 3 seconds ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and 12 seconds ahead of Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
Sonny Colbrelli winning stage 4:
Valverde Thinks Two Week Tours a Good Idea
Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde likes the idea of reducing the Grand Tours from three to two weeks due to the corona situation. “A pity,” said Valverde, “but fans can also enjoy a two-week Tour.”
“It’s a special year,” Valverde told Spanish newspaper Marca. “I don’t think it makes sense to let the Grand Tours run for three weeks, because that will keep us racing very deep into the season. Why not two weeks? That is more than enough for the fans to enjoy. And even in a two-week Tour, the top riders will still float to the top.”
Valverde will ride the Tour, the World championships and the Vuelta, if there is still racing this year. Milan-San Remo would also be an option. “The Tour of Flanders is going to be difficult, Paris-Roubaix is completely impossible. As far as La Primavera is concerned, there is a chance that I will be there.”
Time to enjoy that ham for Valverde:
John Lelangue Thinks there is Nothing Wrong with the Cycling Business Model
“Cycling has survived for more than 50 years in the way it survives today. There are no fewer riders or fewer sponsors than in the 1990s or 2000s. Why question a model that works perfectly? Constantly comparing our sport with football and tennis makes no sense.” John Lelangue, team manager of Lotto Soudal said to Le Soir.
“A sport without ticket revenues, television rights and transfer fees is indeed viable,” says Lelangue. “Visualising sponsors remains the essence of our sport. Teams offer them publicity, hospitality, marketing and communication. We don’t make a profit in any way and we invest everything we have left in our sport.”
Lelangue has previously worked with Phonak and BMC. “Andy Rihs taught me that if a cycling team makes a profit at the end of the season, it is either because too much money was being asked of the sponsors or because not enough money was being pumped into the development of the sport.”
“Cycling has no assets,” explains Lelangue. “When a Qatari owner invests in the French football club PSG, he gets the facilities of a stadium and a lot of players to buy or sell under his wing. Cycling works according to a different logic, our only property is our bicycles and cars.”
“Cycling has survived this way for more than fifty years. There are no fewer riders or fewer sponsors than in the 1990s or 2000s. Why question a model that works perfectly? It makes no sense to constantly compare our sport with football and tennis.”
John Lelangue with Wellens and De Gendt:
Cadel Evans On Van der Poel and Evenepoel
“Whether Remco Evenepoel and Mathieu van der Poel can become Tour riders? A Tour rider also needs a standby button to survive the transition stages. Not everyone is capable of that.” So said Cadel Evans, the 2011 Tour winner. The Australian spoke extensively with Sporza in a Facebook Live session.
Evans – who ended a very successful career five years ago – still follows cycling closely. The former Tour rider is enthusiastic about Remco Evenepoel, who had a stormy debut with the pros. “He’s going to be a very good cyclist, even if he continues to make progress at half speed.”
“It is important that he continues to take steps.” The 20-year-old Evenepoel already made an impression as a time trialist last year, while he was also the best in a tough one-day race like the Clásica San Sebastián. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider started the 2020 season energetically with victories in the Vuelta a San Juan and the Volta ao Algarve.
Evenepoel hopes to participate in the Grand Tours. “Can he become a Tour rider? It is possible to combine one-day races with Grand Tours, but you have to prepare yourself mentally for that,” said Evans. “A one-day rider can focus 110% on a race and run completely empty.”
“In the Tour, however, you have to race at 80 or 90% for three weeks. At the key moments you then have to switch to one hundred percent. A one-day rider has an on and off button, a Tour rider must also have a standby button,” said Evans, who was on the final podium of a three-week Tour five times.
And how does Evans view Mathieu van der Poel? According to the late Raymond Poulidor – Mathieu’s grandfather – the Alpecin-Fenix rider is able to go for overall victory in the Tour. Evans: “Van der Poel also has that one-day race mentality. If he wants to win Grand Tours, he will have to lose some muscle mass. Expectations in Belgium and the Netherlands are very high with regard to Evenepoel and Van der Poel.”
The future of cycling:
Filippo Ganna Thinking of the World Hour Record
Filippo Ganna is still thinking of attacking Victor Campenaerts’ World hour record. “During quarantine I get bad ideas,” the four-time individual World pursuit champion told Tuttobiciweb.
“I often get asked if I shouldn’t attempt a world hour record. And during this quarantine I have already regularly thought about that. I would like to make an attempt, even if it is not self-evident. Victor Campenaerts has set the bar absurdly high with 55.089 km. But challenges are there to take on and records to be broken. If there is more clarity about which races we can still ride this year, I will introduce it to the team. And if there is time, why not try it? I don’t know what kind of effort it is. In regular time trials you have to go to the limit physically. And Wiggins, a Tour winner, of course, said it was the hardest effort of his life.”
In addition to the World hour record, Ganna has another ambition: To get below four minutes for the individual pursuit. The world record of 4:01.934 is already his. “We must then look for the ideal conditions and the fastest track. But my team has a lot of experience in that.” It is not the first time that Ganna flirts with a record attempt. In November he also said that he was thinking about the World hour record.
Hour record for Ganna?
Evenepoel Rode 50 times Up the Muur van Geraardsbergen
Fearing too large a turnout, Evenepoel canceled his challenge last Friday. It was only a postponement as he hit the wall fifty 50 times on Sunday in ‘relative’ anonymity…
Last week Evenepoel completed a 300km training ride. He then thought of a new challenge: riding up the Geraardsbergen at least ten times, but he eventually called it off due to the fear of too many people turning up to watch. On Saturday he rode 256 kilometres, the same distance as Liège-Bastogne-Liège, then on Sunday he went to Geraardsbergen
The plan was to climb the Muur fifty times, using a local circuit that led him back to the foot of the climb. The Het Laatste Nieuws reports that he completed his tough/crazy ride just after 3 o’clock that afternoon, just over 8 hours on the bike, 216.9 kilometres and 5,145 vertical meters. On average he put out 222 watts.
Here are the numbers:
Michael Matthews Quarantined in Slovakia
Michael Matthews did not wait for possible easing of measures in Monaco and fled to Slovakia last week, where his wife was born. But even there he can only cycle outside at the end of next week.
Matthews resides in Monaco with his wife and baby, but French measures to combat the corona virus apply there. Just like Philippe Gilbert, the Australian had to limit himself to sessions on the rollers in recent weeks. Matthews fled Monaco. “I am currently in Slovakia,” the Sunweb sprinter told Het Laatste Nieuws on Tuesday. “We traveled here last week. My wife is from here.” But for the time being Matthews is not benefiting much in terms of cycling options.
“Training outside is not allowed until the end of next week. This morning (Tuesday) I did another corona test to check how we are doing. I am currently cycling on the rollers on the terrace.”
Indoor/outdoor training for Michael Matthews:
Bernal Can Train Outside, Quintana Not Yet
Egan Bernal has received permission from the mayor of his hometown of Zipaquira in Colombia to train again on public roads. At the same time, Nairo Quintana, Esteban Chavez and Sergio Higuita still have to comply with the national lockdown.
Bernal officially lives in Andorra, but returned to his family in Colombia in early March, where strict lockdown measures apply. They should have expired on Monday, but were extended until May 11 by Colombian President Ivan Duque.
Zipaquira mayor Wilson Leonar Garcia gave permission to Bernal and several other riders from the city to train outside between five and eight o’clock in the morning. The Tour winner must remain within the city limits. However, this measure does not apply to other Colombian professional cyclists in other parts of the country. Nairo Quintana, Esteban Chavez and Sergio Higuita still have to comply with the national lockdown measures.
Bernal can start training outside:
Italian’s Can Train Again From 4 May
Italy has decided to ease their corona virus lockdown. From May 4, parks and many shops will reopen and professional cyclists will be allowed to train outside again.
In a television speech, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte explained the relaxation of the measures. Outdoor sports are allowed again from May 4, but only two meters away. Professional sports clubs will also reopen from 18 May, allowing football clubs to train again in groups.
Two weeks later, restaurants and coffee bars will be allowed to open their doors again. Prime Minister Conte emphasises that all this must be done with the necessary precautions. “If you love Italy, keep your distance,” he emphasised in his speech.
Italy has been severely affected by the corona virus. Since March 10, the country has been in a strict lockdown. More than 27,000 Italians have died from the coronavirus. The nurseries, schools and universities will remain closed until September.
Italian champion, Formolo will be able to train outside soon:
A message from Bigla-KATUSHA CEO and Co-owner, Priska Doppmann Campana
Following the news we received from our title partners, team management has agreed to put into force an immediate action plan.
We firstly aim to secure payments to staff and riders for April. This involves asking the UCI to unlock our bank guarantee.
We will also launch a fan support program next week, to provide fans the ability to financially support the team through its partners.
In addition, following the overwhelming support from the international cycling community, we will launch a crowdfunding campaign to secure funds for our short-term future.
We aim to remain in full operation in 2020 to facilitate our riders’ preparation for the World Championships and Olympic Games, and also to become a WorldTour team next year.
We are now therefore actively pursuing new sponsorship opportunities, and believe that with our existing, and new partners, we can successfully realise these goals.
Thank you for supporting us.
Priska Doppmann Campana.
CEO & Co-owner, Bigla-KATUSHA Pro Cycling Team.
Former professional cyclist, multiple Olympian, 7 x Swiss Champion.
Fernando Gaviria Training Again
Colombian top sprinter Fernando Gaviria was personally touched by corona virus. The UAE Team Emirates rider gave an update of his condition via a video message on his Instagram page.
Gaviria wanted to thank everyone for their support during the difficult period that he has gone through. “The coronavirus turns out to be much more serious than what we had all imagined,” he admits. “I personally lived in fear for several days. But now I am doing better again.”
The Colombian is even ready to train again. “From home then, because we have to protect the most vulnerable people as much as possible. In any case, I wish everyone the best.”
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