Coronavirus: Simon Yates expects small teams to struggle when racing returns

By Sports Desk May 08, 2020

Simon Yates believes a number of cycling teams will be under intense pressure when the season resumes.

There has been no racing since the Paris-Nice in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 2020 season is slated to get back under way in August.

The revised schedule will see the three Grand Tours, five Monuments and the UCI Road World Championships all take place in just over three months.

The Road World Championships begin on the day the Tour de France is set to end, while the Giro d'Italia overlaps with a shortened Vuelta a Espana. In addition, the Milan-San Remo is the only Monument to not coincide with a Grand Tour.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates, who won the Vuelta in 2018, believes smaller teams will find life difficult with their resources potentially spread so thin.

"A lot of races survive year by year, so they need to run. A lot of teams survive year by year, with their exposure to races. So I think we can't really control that from that side of view," Yates told Stats Perform.

"You have one team who don't need to ride this race because they have no interest in that country and then you have another team where that will be one of their most important races of the year.

"It's very hard to juggle the season in a way that fits everybody. I wouldn't like the task of coming up with a full season in three months or whatever it is.

"It's obviously very difficult to organise, but I think for the welfare of the riders, it's just going to be a very intense period for everybody – not just riders, I think you've got to look at the staff and the rest of the team.

"If we're running three or four races at exactly the same time on the same day it really puts a lot of stress on the whole organisation and on the whole team.

"You'll need staff going to this race, buses going to this race and they'll be driving thousands and thousands of kilometres between races. Full gas for those three months, throughout the whole time.

"Us personally as a team, we're quite a small team, we're only low 20s, a lot of other squads are 30 plus, up to 30. We'll be racing a lot more than other teams, who will be able to spread out their roster a lot more, whereas we'll be doing more races at the same time.

"I just think it's going to be stressful for a lot of teams."

Yates believes the circumstances could decrease the quality of the competition, although with the window to race so small he acknowledged the drama could increase.

"I think [it could lower the quality], or it could be the opposite because now everybody is going to come out flying," he said.

"Everyone will come out ready to race because there's no chances to build into this season anymore. This season is three months, that's what it is, so it can go either way really.

"It can either be a lot of riders are spread out and less competition or it could be really focused and everybody is raring to go."

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