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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, April 16, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

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UCI reveals basic outline of revised 2020 racing season

Info on the new 2020 Tour de France schedule is posted here.

Here's the UCI's update:

At a video conference meeting organised today by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) in the context of the current coronavirus pandemic, which saw the participation of all the principal representatives of professional road cycling’s families – organisers (AIOCC, and leaders of ASO, RCS, Unipublic and Flanders Classics), teams (AIGCP) and riders (CPA) –, several decisions concerning the revision of the 2020 UCI International Road Calendar were unanimously agreed by the different parties concerned:

-The period of suspension of competitions on the UCI International Road Calendar was extended by one month, until 1st July, and until 1st August for UCI WorldTour events.

-The Tour de France is postponed and will take place this year from 29 August to 20 September. Holding this event in the best conditions possible is judged essential given its central place in cycling’s economy and its exposure, in particular for the teams that benefit on this occasion from unparalleled visibility.

-The 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Aigle-Martigny (Switzerland) are maintained at the scheduled dates, 20-27 September. The competition programme does not change.

-The Giro d’Italia will take place after the UCI Worlds and will be followed by the Vuelta Ciclista a España.

Giro map

Here's the Giro route that was announced on October 2019. It will be interesting to see what shape the race takes this fall.

-The National Championships, organised by the National Federations, will take place on the weekend of 22-23 August.

-The UEC European Road Championships are maintained.

-The most prestigious one-day road races (the Monuments), ie Milano-Sanremo (Italy), the Tour des Flandres (Belgium), Paris-Roubaix (France), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Belgium) and Il Lombardia (Italy), will all take place this season, at dates still to be defined.

-As many events as possible on the UCI International Calendar, and notably the UCI WorldTour, will be rescheduled later in the season.

The UCI, in parallel and in close collaboration with the different parties concerned, continues its work to be able to announce, on 15 May 2020 at the latest, a revised version of the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar and a new version of the entire UCI International Calendar (men’s and women’s races across all cycling disciplines). This calendar will nevertheless remain dependant on the world health situation.

Moreover, the UCI is pleased with the agreement signed yesterday by the UCI, the CPA and the AIGCP, all three represented in the ad hoc working group established by our Federation, concerning the framework that will enable teams that find themselves in serious financial difficulty to take measures necessary for their survival, while preserving the rights of their riders and staff in this uncertain context. This agreement is testimony to the sense of responsibility of cycling’s different players in a period where unity is essential to limiting as far as possible the negative effects of the crisis.

The UCI President David Lappartient declared: “I would like to pay tribute to the representatives of the organisers, teams and riders for their collaboration and their commitment in these difficult times. We still have work to do to finalise the establishment of an entirely revised 2020 UCI International Calendar given the coronavirus pandemic that has shaken the world, but a first very important step has been taken today. Likewise, we have established a framework that will allow the fundamental rights of teams’ riders and staff to be preserved, while enabling the measures necessary for the survival of these teams to be taken. Together, we will manage to get through this crisis and rebuild cycling post-Covid-19.”

Pro teams have already commented on the revised racing schedule.

Deceuninck-Quick Step had this to say:

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.”

Julian Alaphilippe

Will we see Julian Alaphilippe in yellow again? Sirotti photo

“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.

And here's what Team Bora-hansgrohe had to say about the new schedule:

The ASO today announced the new dates of the Tour de France. The race will now run from 29th August to 20 September 2020. The route, however, remains unchanged.

"It’s nice to now have confirmed times for the Tour. The date is admittedly quite late, but I think the ASO and UCI wanted to play it safe, which is a fact to be welcomed. What matters is that the Tour takes place, and that looks good now. However, for the time being, not that much changes for us. We don't yet know which races - and when - will hopefully take place before the Tour de France in summer. Only when we know what kind of race program we can offer the riders, will we be able to prepare ourselves accordingly. Until then, initiatives like the “Digital Swiss 5” are a welcome change. I am looking forward to seeing how these online races will be received by the fans.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager

Emanuel Buchmann

Emanuel Buchmann came into the season with terrific form. Here he is winning a stage in the early season Illes Balears races.

"On the one hand, it’s good to know what we can expect. On the other hand, the path leading up to the Tour is now even longer than originally expected. Mentally, it will be a challenge, but I’m trying to stay focused and just do my training from week to week. It will also be decisive when racing will commence, because then we can start to put together a specific plan. Depending on the situation, it might even be possible to have an altitude training camp in June, which would be a good change from the current training routine.” - Emanuel Buchmann

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