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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
While it will likely remain a question mark for a little while yet whether the Tour de France will start in August as planned, it’s pretty clear that if the race does go ahead, some things will run a bit differently from the way they normally do.
Race director Christian Prudhomme elaborated at least a bit on that subject in an interview with the AFP on Wednesday, saying that this year’s Tour will be a “unique and singular” running of the event. The ASO has not yet detailed the full list of measures that will be taken to hold the race amid a pandemic, but Prudhomme noted that, “There will surely be no kisses or hugs during the ceremonies.”
In other news, the transfer rumor mill continues to churn, with Het Nieuwsblad publishing a particularly intriguing report suggesting that Israel Start-Up Nation is interested in signing Richie Porte (who currently rides for Trek-Segafredo) in support of a possible Chris Froome signing. Lots to digest there …
Read on for more!
| Prudhomme: ‘No kisses or hugs during the ceremonies’ at the Tour
Christian Prudhomme has provided some insight into what this year’s Tour de France will look like in an interview with the AFP, noting that this year will see a “unique and singular” edition of the French Grand Tour.
“There will surely be no kisses or hugs during the ceremonies. And one might think that this is certainly not the best year to get autographs,” Prudhomme said. “The public will be able to come to the Tour but there will probably be more or less severe filtering. In the mountain passes, we will favor those who go up on foot, by bike, or in the transport set up by the communities. But, I repeat, the situation is changing day by day. What will it be in two months?”
Prudhomme explained that further details of the measures being taken to run the Tour in the face of the coronavirus pandemic “will be defined in the period from the end of July to the beginning of August.”
| Report links Israel Start-Up Nation to interest in Porte signing
Transfer rumors have been flying left and right lately, and recent headlines featured a particularly spicy one from Het Nieuwsblad. The Flemish newspaper reports that Israel Start-Up Nation is interested in signing Richie Porte to help support another rider the team has been linked to: Chris Froome.
Porte, of course, was a key lieutenant for Froome during his Tour wins in 2013 and 2015 before leaving Sky to hunt his own GC results. After three years with BMC, Porte joined Trek-Segafredo last year.
Speaking of Trek, Porte’s teammate there Jasper Stuyven has also been linked to Israel Start-Up Nation. So too have fellow Belgians Dylan Teuns and Greg Van Avermaet. To be sure, all those rumors remain just rumors for now, but it will be interesting to see how things play out in the next month or two …
| Bennett will put ‘personal ambition’ aside at upcoming Tour
George Bennett may be a two-time Grand Tour top 10 finisher, but the 30-year-old New Zealander has accepted that he will be playing a support role for the powerhouse Jumbo-Visma squad – which features the likes of Primoz Roglic, Tom Dumoulin, and Steven Kruijswijk – at this year’s Tour de France.
“I’m really confident that we’re going to be racing at the Tour and it’s been a big project for this team. We’ve been coming together for so long. It’s exciting to be part of it. I just need to leave any personal ambition at home,” Bennett said in an interview with Cyclingnews.
“Of course that’s hard. As a GC rider you don’t just shrug it off and say, ‘Okay let’s go.’ You have to think if you’re prepared to do it but at the end of the day, and I’ve said this to the team, I’ll go where the team wants me to go and I’ll do the best.”
| Hope now making Center-Lock lock rings
UK-based manufacturer Hope has been growing its Center-Lock disc brake fitment offerings. First were new Center-Lock road hubs, and now the company has released matching CNC-machined lock rings. The lock rings can be used with any center-lock rotor and hub, and are available in silver, black, red, blue, purple and orange.
Expect to pay US$10 / £8 per piece.
| Wolf Tooth’s new Supple bar tape is all about comfort
Wolf Tooth has released a new ultra-thick, ultra-fat, and ultra-soft bar tape with gravel and bike-packing in mind. Made from silicon, the tape is 5 mm thick (11.5 mm uninstalled) and an equally generous 40 mm wide. The silicon material is naturally tacky, soft and washable.
It’s made in the USA and retails for US$40 / AU$65.
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Today’s featured image of Richie Porte Bernal at the Tour de France comes from Kristof Ramon.