Delayed Tour de France is Underway
29th August 2020
Last modified on September 2nd, 2020
Once again the mountain stages will be fascinating but it will be strange without the crowds. And costly for the resorts as they loose out on valuable income.
It started in Nice on Saturday after a two month delay due to Covid-19.
Officials are asking large crowds to stay away.
Le Tour takes place over the next 3 weeks with 21 stages.
There are strict coronavirus rules for the riders, the support teams and all the organisers.
The Ineos Grenadiers boss, Sir Dave Brailsford, said “nobody knows” if the Tour will reach the finish in Paris on 20th September.
Here at PlanetSKI we will be watching the event closely as it enters its mountain stages.
This year’s race is all about the mountain stages.
The 2020 Tour de France will take in all the main mountain areas of France.
Day Two saw riders heading to the mountains –into the heart of the Maritime Alps for an early dose of high mountains.
This is the earliest we can remember seeing high mountains in the Tour.
France’s Julian Alaphilippe won the second stage taking the yellow jersey in the process.
Observers believe he is one of France’s best chances of winning the overall title.
A Frenchman has not won the Tour de France since 1985 when Bernard Hinault won his fifth and last title.
The third stage is a 123-mile route from Nice to Sisteron which is a flat stage.
Eleven of the 21 stages of the 2020 Tour de France are described as hilly or mountainous, and only nine stages as being flat.
While last year’s tour spent more time in the Pyrenees and less in the Alps, the 2020 Tour takes in only two days in the Pyrenees.
There are four finishes in the Alps.
There is also a mountain finish in the Auvergne with riders finishing at the Pas de Peyrol near the top of the Puy Mary deep in the Massif Central.
Traditional finishes in Alpe d’Huez and Mount Ventoux are missing this year.
It will have a severe economic impact on the ski resorts it passes through, as it usually brings in huge amounts of tourists and their cash.
We looked at the economic impact Le Tour brings when we watched it hit Verbier in Switzerland back in 2009.
It is an event like no other.
France has had its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections since March.
French President, Emmanuel Macron, has said another nationwide lockdown may be needed if events require it.
It is hoped the Tour de France does not contribute to any rise.
Riders and team staff members were tested for Covid-19 six and three days before the start of the race.
There are 8 riders in a team with a maximum of 22 support staff.
2 members of the Lotto Soudal team were sent home on Thursday after testing positive.
Teams can be excluded if two riders from the same outfit test positive for Covid-19 within a seven-day period during the race.
French health authorities have tightened the rules to say a team should be pulled our if two or more of its members test positive within seven days.
A further 7,379 covid-19 cases were confirmed on Friday – it brings the country’s total to 267,077.
It was the largest daily spike since 31st March, when 7,578 cases were recorded.
On Thursday there were 6,111 cases and 5,429 on Wednesday.
The French Alps and Pyrenees have seen reduced number of people from the UK after quarantine measures were introduced earlier this month.