'Thank you all from the bottom of my heart’: Pro riders react as strange and unpredictable 2020 season comes to an end
It looked like there might not be a full season, but the biggest races still went ahead thanks to the work of riders, teams, race organisers and fans
The 2020 cycling season came to its conclusion in Spain last weekend against all odds.
When racing was suspended in march due to the global coronavirus pandemic, it looked as though pro cycling might cease entirely for the rest of the year, as the biggest races were postponed and riders were locked down across the world.
But thanks to the tireless work of race organisers, riders, teams, and the fans, the season started once again in August.
While the uncertainty, cancellations, and positive coronavirus tests continued throughout, the biggest races went ahead and fans were able to enjoy world-class racing, from Strade Bianche, the Tour de France, the Giro Rosa, to the Vuelta a España and the Ceratizit Challenge.
As the season closed in Madrid on Sunday (October 8), albeit much later than usual, riders have shared their reactions to an challenging and uncertain 2020.
Giro d’Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart, now back home in London, said: “Congratulations everyone in cycling for what we have collectively achieved in 2020. Upss, downs & everything in between, we managed to do so much the last three months. Thanks to all our Ineos Grenadiers staff, many of whom have barely seen their families, for their incredible work
“I really hope the racing we have done will ensure all teams possible can continue into 2021 & as many riders as possible. I’ve realised this last week in London how happy the racing has made many people & the distraction/hope sport can provide from this difficult year.”
He added: “Plus I should add a huge thank you to all the fans for your support! We have missed you on the roads, but the social-media has been amazing.”
CCC Team’s Matteo Trentin also thanked those involved, saying: “Proof we can do our job (race our bikes) in a safe way in this difficult time.
“It won’t be easy next year too, but we have demonstrated it is possible.”
Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana) said: “Unfortunately we cannot say it was an ordinary or simple season and it was not even a season that lived up to our goals and dreams.
“Today a third place at La Vuelta made us smile a little, but we know thats not exactly what we deserve. I think better times will come.
“Thanks to my sports group, thanks to my family for sharing their joys and sorrows with me, and finally thanks to all of you true supporters for continuing to be an important part of this journey.”
Lotto-Soudal’s John Degenkolb said: “I really would like to thank everybody who made this special season happen. everybody who put his creativity, manpower and knowledge into the races, the team staff, the sponsors, the race promoter, the helping hands that are necessary to secure every single race. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. without you we could not live our dreams and finish the season and secure our beloved sport.”
The global pandemic also affected those outside of the peloton working in cycling, with broadcasters, journalists and team staff facing uncertain futures as races were cancelled.
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Broadcaster Orla Chennaoui said: “It’s not that long ago that I was absolutely certain I would have to miss this cycling year. My job is to host the Grand Tours for Eurosport UK, but with quarantine restrictions affecting the Netherlands, I couldn’t travel to do that job. And yet, the team did everything possible to keep me involved, and to allow me to add my own journalistic twist on the coverage. I am so deeply grateful for their support in such a difficult year, and for the chance to play a tiny part in what has been, for me, the most exciting season of the past decade.”
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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