As the Tour de France approaches, both cycling fans and the pros will be wondering what the postponed edition will look like.
Throughout the coronavirus lockdown there has been speculation about the measures needed to keep spectators, staff, riders and media safe at the biggest bike race in the world.
But Tour director Christian Prudhomme has now offered an update on the safety measures that are likely to be put in place for fans and the peloton.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Periodico (opens in new tab), Prudhomme said: “There will surely be no kisses or hugs during official ceremonies. And one might think that it is certainly not the best year to collect autographs. The public may come to the Tour but there will be a filter. In the mountains, we will favour those who climb on foot, by bicycle or in the transport established by local communities.
“But, I repeat, the situation is changing day by day. We don’t how what it will look like in two months.”
Prudhomme added that the advertising caravan, a convoy of hundreds of vehicles promoting different companies that travels each stage ahead of the peloton, will be at 60 per cent of its previous size, due to the economic impact coronavirus has had on businesses.
The 2020 Tour de France was initially scheduled to start this coming Saturday (June 27), but the race was postponed because of the global pandemic.
Instead the race will now start in Nice on August 29 and finish in Paris on September 20, covering the same 21 stages that were already planned.
Prudhomme said that the health and safety measures will be cemented through July and August ready for the Grand Départ.
He added that there has been some small variation to the route, including shortening stage 14 from Clemont Ferrand to Lyon by 3km, but there are no major changes to the course expected.
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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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