Alejandro Valverde will ride the 2020 Tour de France all the way to Paris as his preparation for the Tokyo Olympic road race, his Movistar boss has said.
Eusebio Unzué has said the French Grand Tour isn't the "ideal preparation" for a rider hoping to claim a gold medal on Japanese roads, but that he doesn't think it will pose a problem for his former world champion.
>>> Tourmalet to feature in Vuelta a España 2020, according to reports
The 64-year-old has highlighted the time difference will mean that when the peloton finally climb off after sprinting down the Champs-Élysées, it will be late on Sunday evening and already be Monday morning in Tokyo. A 12-hour flight time means riders are unlikely to arrive before Tuesday morning, leaving little time for preparation ahead of Saturday's road race.
"Probably the 21 days of the Tour are not the ideal preparation," Unzué said at a press conference (opens in new tab), "because those who finish the Tour will do so on Sunday at 9pm, which will be the next day in Tokyo. As soon they arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday, they won't have time to adapt to the time difference or temperature. Although with Alejandro I don't think this will be a problem."
Unzué hopes that arriving straight from the Tour could mean riders built up a solid amount of racing in their legs, instead of having time off which could have the adverse affect of them losing some form.
"If the Tour ends as I hope so, we will try to arrive in the best possible conditions," Unzué continued. "On the other hand, if you don't do the Tour you can go cold, but not in a way that will help you produce a good ride."
The Tokyo road race route will feature the backdrop of Mount Fuji and will climb the lower slopes of Japan’s highest mountain.
The 234 kilometre race departs from the Musashinonomori Park, with a 10km neutral zone before routing west via the Kagosaka Pass, passing through Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka, and contains 4,865 metres of climbing.
Both riders will be looking to rival Valverde for Olympic gold on the hilly parcours, with Bardet also identifying the Swiss Road World Championships in September as an additional goal for his 2020 season.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Uttrup Ludwig takes a brilliant stage win at the Tour of Scandinavia
The Danish champion takes the mountain top win and the overall lead with one stage to go after an impressive showing from the Brits
By Owen Rogers • Published
Specialized Align II review - budget friendly helmet brings MIPS to the people
Not only do you get MIPS at an almost unbelievably low price, but this helmet is well made and a good fit too
By Paul Grele • Published
‘I was rubbing shoulders with Nibali and Valverde’ - Oliver Knight gets starstruck at Vuelta a Burgos
UAE Team Emirates rider makes big step up in key race before the Vuelta a España
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Alejandro Valverde involved in hit and run incident during training in Spain
Movistar confirm rider suffered no fractures or other injuries
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Alejandro Valverde: Second place at Flèche Wallonne 'is worth as much as a victory'
Spaniard finishes on podium for eight time in final time up Mur de Huy
By Adam Becket • Published
Alejandro Valverde confirms he will stay with Movistar for 2022
The Spaniard enters his 18th year with the Spanish-based team, which could be his last
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Five talking points from stage seven of the Vuelta a España 2021
Team DSM thrive again on a Grand Tour stage, Valverde is out, but Movistar still looking strong - don't miss these moments
By Stephen Puddicombe • Published
'This won't be my last season': Alejandro Valverde plans to continue racing next year aged 42
Movistar's evergreen star man does not want to quit racing after the Olympics
By Chris Marshall-Bell • Published