A little over two months after the start of Tower of FranciaPosted on August 29 in Nice, its editor Christian Prudhomme describes the postponed edition of the coronavirus as “unique and singular”. He has work to do to lay the foundations for a test that must adapt to the threat of the coronavirus.
The two-month postponement turns the 2020 event “into a unique Tour, as it has never started so late. Formally it is summer, but it is out of the holiday period. A unique tour. There will be real questions regarding the runners, whose way of preparing will necessarily be different. A priori it will be less hot, but also more windy. On the edge of the roads, you can expect fewer people, but the party will continue there, always with respect for sanitary measures ».
The sanitary measures suppose a headache. «From the beginning, we have been in contact with the public authorities and with the sports bodies. I am happy for the unity of the cycling world and the interlocution of the authorities. We have given little information in March and April, apart from the announcement of the dates of the postponement, because it was incongruous to talk about sport at that time. But we have worked and continue to do so ».
Less caravan and no kisses
But the hobbyist demands news. Prudhomme replies: “The situation evolves from one day to the next. The specifications will be defined between the end of July and the beginning of August. What can be advanced is that there will be a race with the best cyclists. The advertising caravan will have a hundred vehicles, around 60% compared to previous years. The economic crisis affects different sectors of activity ».
The measures will affect various areas. «There will surely be no kisses and hugs at protocol ceremonies. And you might think that it’s probably not the best year for autographs. The public will be able to come to the Tour, but there will probably be a more or less severe filter. In the ports, those who climb on foot, by bicycle or by public transport will be favored. But, I repeat, the situation evolves from one day to the next. I don’t know how it will be in two months »
The Dauphiné, from August 12-16, could serve as a dress rehearsal. “The sanitary measures will be applied in the Dauphiné, as well as in the rest of the races on the calendar.”
“We want to show more than ever our support for the daily bicycle, which favors health and does not pollute,” says Christian Prudhomme. «We are going to collaborate with the Secours Populaire (French association that helps in a material, medical, moral and legal way to people victims of injustice or poverty), with which we have been working since 2008. We are also going to mount with Emmaus (social aid group) an operation to collect used bicycles to be distributed among groups of people in need. There is a third project with the South African organization Qhubeka to supply bicycles to children in the poor neighborhoods of that country. For my part, I will go to various stages of the Tour to respond to local governments and the media. ”
He Tour director takes it as a challenge. «The proper thing of an organization is to adapt. I’ve always heard that ‘the Tour will always be the Tour ‘. Sports and media the race is the same, but we had to put patches, since we could not repeat the exact same route in September. In Lyon, for example, we have three kilometers less on the stage, because we eliminated the Fourvière climb »