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.
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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, “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.