Egan Bernal has already stopped training. Just three months before the planned start of the Tour de France, the defending champion is putting his feet up in his Colombian homeland – months ago that would have been unthinkable.
The corona crisis also presents cycling with unforeseen challenges. While Bernal is currently "neither physically nor mentally" focused on work, other favorites for the tour win stay in shape on exercise bikes. When will they race again? Not clear.
There is also a big question mark behind the scheduled staging of the tour. The organizers are fighting for the race that is scheduled to start on June 27 with the Grand Depart in Nice. Bernal is campaigning for a postponement, others would accept a complete cancellation to protect the general public. The "SID" presents three scenarios for the tour of France. CANCELLATION: It is currently the most unlikely scenario. Cycling is largely funded by sponsors, and the tour offers the teams an unmatched advertising platform. "Around 60 percent of the revenue in a season is generated by the tour," said Vincent Lavenu, head of the French team AG2R. The majority of the teams would hardly be able to cope with financial losses of this magnitude. "It would be a disaster if the tour was not driven or canceled first," said German professional cyclist Emanuel Buchmann to "SID". Drivers like Buchmann, who wanted to be on the tour podium this summer, would almost have to write off the season, which was already badly affected. The employees would be hit harder. If the tour is canceled, "it would make some people unemployed," said ex-winner Geraint Thomas, but there are voices that would be hard to accept. "If you have to cancel the Tour de France in order to contain the pandemic, this is the absolutely right decision – as bitter as it is for the individual," said the German professional cyclist John Degenkolb in "ZDF" To protect other team members, many drivers prefer to postpone the tour – provided the pandemic worsens. "It could be better to postpone the tour," said Bernal. Another reason: the preparation was disturbed. The tour is the highlight of the season for all nominated riders, the whole year is geared towards the most important cycling race in the world. Current uncertainty and public restrictions make targeted training impossible. "We are all hanging in the air at the moment," said Thomas. After the Olympic postponement, the organizer ASO would have air to find the dates. A postponement – around August – would also be attractive for the following reason: After the end of the Giro d'Italia (postponed indefinitely) and the Summer Games (postponed to 2021), one of the strongest driver fields in history would be starting. With the spread of the coronavirus, the Grand Depart is taking place in Nice on June 27th. And yet there are supporters, also because the tour enjoys a special status in France and is considered a cultural asset. The French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu recently proposed a "ghost tour" without spectators, which the German ex-professional Marcel Kittel called " completely unreasonable "said:" That would mean we are considering a tour that would roll through France at a time when the corona virus would spread even further. "Drivers like the French crowd favorite Julian Alaphilippe closed a tour without spectators already out.