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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
As we all know, a whole swathe of cycling races have been cancelled due to coronavirus. But even now, the organisers of some of the season’s biggest races are clinging to hope that their events will still go ahead.
Chief among those races is, of course, the Tour de France, which is still scheduled to start on June 27. Organisers have mulled the idea of a spectator-free race but even then it seems highly unlikely the race will go ahead. But then there’s the Vuelta a Espana, scheduled to begin on August 14. Could that still go ahead? Organisers are certainly hoping so. In fact, race director Javier Guillen said that he’s hoping the 2020 Vuelta will be “the best in history”.
You’ll find that story and more in today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest. Until tomorrow, thanks for reading, and please stay safe.
| Vuelta director hopeful 2020 edition will be ‘the best in history’
Despite the cycling world being on lockdown and with no races expected in the forseeable future, the director of the Vuelta a Espana isn’t just hopeful of running the 2020 edition, he’s hoping it will be “the best in history”.
Speaking to Spanish news agency EFE, Javier Guillen said his team is moving ahead as planned.
“The circumstances are new, but our entire team is working with motivation, and with the idea that the event will take place,” Guillen said. “In these difficult times, I can tell you that we are more coordinated and united than ever. We want to organize a superb Vuelta 2020 – the best in history.”
The 2020 Vuelta is scheduled to run from August 14 to September 6, leaving four and a half months until the race’s planned departure. At the time of writing, Spain has 6,802 recorded deaths from coronavirus, the second most of any nation behind Italy.
| 2020 Tour de France would be ‘a symbol of a new period’ – Madiot
In all likelihood the Tour de France will join the list of bike races cancelled due to coronavirus. Groupama-FDJ manager Marc Madiot recognises that truth, but is hopeful the race will go ahead, if only for the symbolism.
“Deep down, I only hope one thing: that the Tour will take place in July,” Madiot told French newspaper Liberation. “It is a small light that is good for morale. Even if it is far away, this hope is also what we need at the moment. If the race can take place on the scheduled dates, that means that we will be projected into a return to normal, after confinement.”
Several scenarios are being currently mulled for the 2020 Tour, including running the event without spectators.
“Technically, it wouldn’t be straightforward for ASO, but there is television and it would be a symbol: the beginning of some things starting up again,” Madiot said.
| Restructuring road calendar “is not easy” – Lappartient
UCI president David Lappartient has taken to Facebook to provide an update on the UCI’s response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Lappartient said that global health was the UCI’s main priority, saying it is essential for people to follow government directions “to ensure the protection of the populations.” He said that the UCI is in the midst of reconstructing racing calendars across disciplines – a considerable challenge in the case of road.
“We will try to protect what makes the richness of our sport – of course in road cycling the Grand Tours and the Monuments of our sport, for both men and women,” he said. “We will work to find the best solutions and ensure that we can reconstruct a solid calendar for the end of the season and to rediscover the passion that we all love. But our priority for the moment is the protection of the population, the respect of the rules, to avoid the crisis spreading further.”
| Lotto Soudal riders and staff take voluntary pay cut
With no racing likely in the forseeable future, teams find themselves paying staff that have little to do. In a press release sent out over the weekend, Lotto Soudal said that “mechanics, soigneurs, physiotherapists and bus drivers are forced to step back and become temporarily unemployed.” The team notes that the affected staff will be supported by financial measures from the Belgian government.
Riders and team management will be earning less, too, albeit voluntarily, according to Lotto Soudal.
“In solidarity with staff and sponsors, the riders, just like the entire management team and all administrative staff, have voluntarily decided to waive part of their wages, until the team races again,” the team said. “This decision was taken without discussion and with unanimity. It was clear to everyone that particular circumstances require particular team actions.”
| Moroccan cyclist rescued after elephant attack
A Moroccan touring cyclist has had a lucky escape after being attacked by an elephant. According to Morocco World News, Abdelhadi Cecradi tried to escape an angry elephant that surprised him on the road, but when a truck blocked his way, Cecradi rode into a tree, breaking his arm.
In a video recorded to Facebook Cecradi said “I’ve seen my arm break in two, and I’m unable to move it. There is no one around.”
Cecradi’s Facebook followers reportedly called the Moroccan embassy in South Africa, who contacted authorities in Botswana to help locate and rescue the 23-year-old rider. Cecradi underwent surgery on his arm late last week.
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| Chloe Hosking praising dogs
Pro cyclists have suddenly found themselves with a bunch of spare time on their hands. Aussie sprinter Chloe Hosking is putting that time to good use, complimenting people’s dogs on Twitter. Very entertaining.
Today’s featured image comes from Kristof Ramon and shows Primoz Roglic on the podium after winning the 2019 Vuelta.