Richard Carapaz may have to ride his bike and drive 900km to make a flight to Europe in order to defend his Giro d’Italia title.
The Ecuadorian rider and his Team Ineos team-mate Jhonatan Narváez are making plans to travel ready for the return of racing next month, with the pair intending to catch a humanitarian flight to Spain.
But the flight will be leaving from the Colombian capital Bogotá in mid-July, 900km north of Carapaz’s home on the border.
With most flights suspended in the area, Carapaz and Narváez may have to make most of the journey by bike, although they may also travel by car for some of the trip, El Telegrafo reports.
Carapaz is scheduled to return to racing at the Vuelta a Burgos on July 28 and will then race the Tour of Poland from August 9, Tirreno-Adriatico from September 4 before heading to the World Championships in late September.
But the 27-year-old’s main goal for the season is the Giro d’Italia , where he hopes to defend his 2019 pink jersey from October 3-25.
The humanitarian flight from Colombia will carry 200 passengers to Europe, including 107 athletes from cycling, squad, tennis and football.
Carapaz and Narváez need to make their way to Monaco to join the rest of Team Ineos before the re-join the peloton.
Both riders have work visas allowing them to race in Europe, but they are still awaiting permission from the authorities to take the humanitarian flight.
If they are given permission, they plan to ride and drive the journey over two days to keep up their training.
The coronavirus crisis has wreaked havoc on the 2020 cycling season, as the UCI was forced to suspend racing from March until July and dozens of races have been cancelled.
Riders outside of Europe have faced an even more uncertain year due to travel bans throughout the world, with US riders now unsure if they will be able to make it to races as the EU is expected to restrict travel from certain countries.
But despite the doubts, it is looking increasingly likely that racing will return for the second half of 2020.