Coronavirus: Thomas welcomes Tour de France decision, hints other events may need to compromise

By Sports Desk April 15, 2020

Geraint Thomas is "super-excited" about the prospect of the Tour de France taking place this year - even if it means other major races may take a hit.

Britain's 2018 winner of Le Tour said Wednesday's announcement of the new August 29 to September 20 dates would help riders who were unsure about when they might return to action.

Thomas, who finished second to Egan Bernal last year, suggested every effort must be made to ensure the Tour de France goes ahead, above all other events.

The race was originally scheduled to take place between June 27 and July 19, but that became unrealistic because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Restrictions on movement may have been lifted by August, allowing sport to return to some degree of normality.

"Hopefully those dates can go ahead, and I'm super-excited about that. The Tour is the pinnacle of the sport," Thomas told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"If that went ahead, it'd be great for the riders and the teams, and for the fans as well - something for everybody to look forward to.

"I've missed sport a lot - it's a good way to switch off from the real world. If it goes ahead, it'd also show we're through such a horrible, terrible time for everyone.

"The biggest thing is having a date we can work towards. Before, we just didn't know, obviously nobody knew.

"[I was] trying to maintain a bit of fitness and not put on too much weight, but in the bad of your mind you're [thinking], 'What am I doing this for?'.

"It's so much easier now you have a fixed target and a fixed goal to build towards."

The Road World Championships in Aigle-Martigny, Switzerland, are still scheduled to take place between September 20 and 27, and world governing body the UCI plans to fit in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana after that.

It means there will be a hectic spell of activity for the world's top road cyclists, and Thomas suggested some level of compromise might be required to accommodate everything.

One possibility may be cutting down the Giro and Vuelta to shorter events, although there may be reluctance to make such a move with the Grand Tour events.

Thomas said: "Once we officially know we can go racing again, I think talks can really start between UCI and the race organisers and the teams and we can come up with a decent plan.

"The Tour, in my eyes, needs to take priority because that's the main event in cycling, and then hopefully we can fit in some other races around it.

"If they are compromised slightly, I don't think they would mind too much if they still go ahead."

Thomas was taking part in a charity ride at home on Wednesday, raising money for the NHS Charities Together organisation by pedalling on a static bike for 12 hours, which he will repeat on Thursday and Friday.

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    2019: Richard Carapaz

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    2016: Vincenzo Nibali

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