The Team Ineos rider and former Tour winner said he understands why Tour organiser ASO would opt to postpone this year’s event due to coronavirus, but fears the impact it would have on cycling’s fragile economy.
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In an interview with The Telegraph newspaper, Thomas also said a Tour de France held without the fans wouldn’t be the same event.
The 33-year-old said: “I just want to race my bike again, so in that sense I’d love it to be on, but only if it was safe to do so.
“But on the other hand there are 20-odd teams, and companies invested in those teams, and if it went there [could be] quite a few people left unemployed. So while the result itself doesn’t matter, the event does because there are a lot of livelihoods wrapped up in it.”
The entire cycling calendar has been upended by the global coronavirus crisis, with dozens of races cancelled or postponed, as the UCI has suspended the cycling calendar for the foreseeable future.
ASO has not yet made a decision on the fate of the Tour de France, but the Olympics, scheduled for around the same time this summer, has already been postponed until 2021.
This weekend, ASO is looking to make a decision on the Tour by May 1.
Last week, French minister of sport Roxana Maracineanu suggested the Tour could still be run for the benefit of TV, but without the millions of fans lining the streets.
Thomas said “it wouldn’t be the Tour without the fans” and added that it would be much harder to impose restrictions, like those that were put in place at Paris-Nice.