Different and yet not: teams present themselves for Tour, but at a distance

The start of the 107th Tour de France is now really getting closer and closer. Thursday evening was the presentation of the 22 teams that will start Saturday’s postponed cycling tour through France, which could not take place in July due to the coronapandemic.

A later time of the year, but also in a different ambiance. Not only were there far fewer spectators than usual to witness the team presentation, the chosen ones were also at a suitable distance from each other because of the danger of corona contamination. Moreover, most of the attendees wore a mouth mask, just like the riders on the podium.

“Without the support of the municipality of Nice, the solidarity in the cycling world and the cycling federation UCI there wouldn’t have been a Tour this year”, Tour boss Christian Prudhomme said before the teams rode on the podium with two of them at the same time. The same podium where the French former winner Bernard Thevenet (1975 and 1977) had been present just before

The striker was bitten off by Arkรฉa-Samsic with the Colombian Nairo Quintana, who reached the top three in the Tour three times, in the ranks, directly followed by NTT Pro Cycling (formerly Dimension Data) with the Italian Giacomo Nizzolo in his Wednesday captured champion’s jersey of the European Championship in Plouay.

Ambitions

At the end of the presentation, in which attention was also paid to the Tour icon Raymond Poulidor, who passed away at the end of last year, it was the turn of the teams that will be frequently seen from the front in the coming weeks.

With the ambitions of the Dutch Jumbo-Visma, with Slovenian Primoz Rogliz (number 11) and Tom Dumoulin (14) as leaders, and the British Team Ineos, with defending champion Egan Bernal from Colombia on the apple, it won’t lie in any case.

Dumoulin spoke on Thursday, before the presentation, about his Tour chances and also sees himself as one of the favorites. “Winning the Tour would be the crowning glory of my career.”

Positive test at Lotto-Soudal

All drivers, most of whom remained hidden behind their mouth caps the whole time, immediately retreated to their ‘bubble’ (read: hotel) after their short attendance in order to prevent or minimize the chance of being infected with the coronavirus.

Belgians Thomas De Gendt and Philippe Gilbert and Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan are the main tour riders at Lotto-Soudal