This year’s Tour de France will be like no other.
Having been delayed by a month due to coronavirus, the biggest bicycle race in the world is due to get started August 29, and will see twists, turns and exciting cycling action!
Where does the route go and what's going to happen?
This year’s Tour de France is more mountainous and even tougher than ever!
As a basic overview, the race starts with three days in the beautiful French Riviera, with stages based around Nice.
From there, the Tour de France moves west towards the Pyrenees mountain range. After stage 9, riders get a well-earned rest day and fly north ready for stage 10 on the west coast of France. The race then heads back inland, through the wild and rugged hills of the Massif Central as it approaches a big block of high Alpine climbing.
And to finish off, as always, it’s the traditional ceremonial stage around Paris, where riders race on the historic Champs-Elysees in view of the Arc de Triomphe.
Just to make the lives of cyclists who have had to train through lockdown even harder, the Tour de France organisers have filled this year’s race with tough climbs.
Rather than putting the mountains into a few condensed days in the French Alps and Pyrenees as is the normal approach there’s an added level of challenge this year as the climbs are sprinkled at random over three weeks, giving riders no rest!
That’s not to say that the sprinters won’t have their opportunity to battle it out in the frenetic high-speed charges that make for such great viewing. There are a number of stages set to see a big sprint showdown, and there is a strong field of fast men set to challenge in the action.
Who's going to win?
Just as 2020 is a crazy year, it could also be a Tour of crazy racing!
There are more genuine contenders than before, and teams are on the rise that could put an end to Team Sky / Ineos long-time dominance over the race.
To name all the possible winners would need a whole blog, but there are a few notable non-starters.
Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and his Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas have both been left out of their squad’s selection for the Tour after the pair didn’t prove themselves fit enough. Steven Kruijswijk, the Jumbo-Visma rider who placed third at the Tour de France last year, is injured.
There are perhaps two key contenders for this year’s race – young Colombian and defending champion Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), and last year’s Vuelta a Espana winner, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma also have some of the race’s second-tier favourites, with Ineos rider Richard Carapaz in with a shot and Tom Dumoulin of Jumbo-Visma also in contention. With those two teams boasting such super-strong riders, the race is likely to come down to a big battle between the two squads.
Who else is in the mix?
There are plenty of others who could spring a surprise and beat Ineos and Jumbo-Visma.
Established names such as Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) should be at the pointy-end of the race, as well as young hotshot Tadej Pogacar, who is just 21 years old!