French climber Romain Bardet has said that he hopes the 2020 Tour de France does happen, in an interview with L’Equipe, saying it would be a “great sign” if it goes ahead.
The AG2R La Mondiale rider’s season has now been turned upside down due to the coronavirus. He was set to ride the Giro d’Italia and then aim for Olympic success in Japan, but both have since been postponed.
But he is keeping his options open and remaining optimistic for a possible Tour in July if France is able to get the virus under control.
Bardet said: “It seems to me that it might be less utopian, if the pandemic has been controlled by then in France, to organise the Tour de France.
“We’re all going through difficult times, but it would be a great sign if the Tour could be held in July. It would mean that the health situation had improved, and that we were on the right track… But it’s probably too early to say whether that’s possible.”
Winner of last year’s king of the mountains jersey after an abysmal start to the Tour, Bardet was going to ride the Giro with the same idea as Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) did in 2018; taking the huge pressure off his shoulders for his home race later in the year.
AG2R’s star rider went on to speak about the Olympics year postponement, as it was a key target in his year with the course around Mount Fuji suiting climbers.
Bardet says that the decision was “reasonable and logical” to postpone and that he is now just “thinking beyond sport.” as Covid-19 plunges much of the world into lockdown.
“I didn’t know how anyone was going to be able to take part in the Olympics while there was still so much uncertainty and the world was in the state it’s in,” Bardet continued.
“It would be selfish of me to only be concerned by the sporting aspect of everything that’s happening.”
With the season completely up in the air now, Bardet is now just focusing on normal life away from sport.
He said: “I’ve lost the thread of my season a little, especially as we don’t know when we’re going to race again. Everyone’s thinking beyond sport now.”