The 2020 UCI Road World Championships will no longer take place in Switzerland but could be moved elsewhere, it was announced on Wednesday.

The event was scheduled to take place from September 20 until September 27 in Aigle and Martigny but that was deemed inviable after the Swiss Federal Council maintained a ban on gatherings of over 1,000 people due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The UCI stated it would seek an alternative host to ensure the championships still go ahead, with a final decision to be taken by September 1.

"Our federation, which was greatly looking forward to welcoming the world's best riders to 'its' home, close to its headquarters and its training centre in Aigle, shares the disappointment of the athletes, national teams, organisers and everyone implicated in this exceptional project," the UCI said in a statement.

"Given the sporting importance of the UCI Road World Championships for cycling, the UCI would like to clarify that it will work towards finding an alternative project to ensure the 2020 edition of the event can take place, with the priority being in Europe and at the dates initially scheduled. It could include all or some of the planned races.

"The UCI will look for a host city that would be able to provide a route as challenging as that in Aigle-Martigny and which would therefore suit the same type of riders who had initially planned to participate in Switzerland.

"Conscious that time is of the essence for the athletes, the national federations and all implicated parties, the UCI will communicate more information as soon as possible and will take a final decision by September 1 at the latest."

Dylan Groenewegen says competing again is far from his thoughts after he was suspended from racing by his own team following the Tour of Poland crash that left Fabio Jakobsen in an induced coma.

The Jumbo-Visma team said Groenewegen is "devastated" by this week's events and has acknowledged it was his mistake that caused fellow Dutchman Jakobsen to be hospitalised.

He appeared to nudge Jakobsen into the barriers in a high-speed sprint finish on Wednesday's opening stage of the race, and world governing body the UCI is looking at whether to discipline Groenewegen, which could mean a ban.

Jumbo-Visma said Groenewegen "broke a sports rule and that’s unacceptable", adding: "We have decided that Dylan will not start in a race until the judgment of the disciplinary committee to which the UCI has handed over the incident."

Speaking to Dutch TV channel NOS, Groenewegen said: "It is clearly my fault. I veered off course and it is not allowed. Thinking of sprinting is far from my concerns. I won't even think about cycling in the coming months."

Deceuninck-QuickStep rider Jakobsen, 23, has emerged from his coma after facial surgery and his condition has been described as "good" by race organisers.

Groenewegen said of the incident: "Everything went so fast ... from one second to the next, I found myself on the ground and could only see the enormous damage caused by this fall.

"I saw Fabio's team-mates standing around him and I understood that this was serious. From that moment on, I can just hope that he will eventually recover. And apologise for this mistake.

"Of course, I hardly sleep any more. I think of Fabio and his family all the time."

The 27-year-old has promised to get in touch with those close to Jakobsen, saying: "I think it's not a good time yet. But of course, I will when the timing is a little better."

Tour of Poland organisers have revealed Fabio Jakobsen is out of a coma and in a "good" condition two days after his high-speed crash at the end of stage one.

Deceuninck-QuickStep rider Jakobsen was in a serious but stable condition after being airlifted to a hospital in Katowice following the incident on Wednesday.

The Dutchman underwent facial surgery and Deceuninck-QuickStep said doctors would try and wake the 23-year-old up on Thursday.

There was a positive update on his condition on Friday.

A tweet from the Tour of Poland account said: "We have good news from the hospital in Sosnowiec! @FabioJakobsen is awake now from the coma. Condition is 'good'."

Dylan Groenewegen apologised on Thursday after he was disqualified for causing the crash.

Jumbo-Wisma rider Groenewegen was strongly condemned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for his "dangerous behaviour".

He posted on Twitter: "I hate what happened yesterday [Wednesday]. I can't find the words to describe how sorry I am for Fabio and others who have fallen or been hit.

"At the moment, the health of Fabio is the most important thing. I think about him constantly."

Dylan Groenewegen has expressed his dismay after the horrific Tour of Poland crash that left Fabio Jakobsen in an induced coma.

Deceuninck-QuickStep rider Jakobsen was in a serious but stable condition in a Katowice hospital after undergoing facial surgery, with doctors intending to wake the 23-year-old on Thursday.

Jakobsen was airlifted to hospital on Wednesday after fellow Dutchman Groenewegen appeared to nudge him into the barriers in a high-speed sprint finish on the opening stage of the race.

Jumbo-Wisma rider Groenewegen was disqualified and strongly condemned by governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for his "dangerous behaviour".

Groenewegen made a first public statement on Thursday, saying he felt for Jakobsen.

He posted on Twitter: "I hate what happened yesterday. I can't find the words to describe how sorry I am for Fabio and others who have fallen or been hit.

"At the moment, the health of Fabio is the most important thing. I think about him constantly."

Jumbo-Wisma issued an apology on Wednesday and said an internal review would take place.

"Our thoughts go out to Fabio Jakobsen and other people involved in today's terrible crash in the Tour of Poland. Crashes like these should not happen," the team tweeted.

"We offer our sincere apologies and we will discuss internally what has happened before we may make any further statement."

Deceuninck-QuickStep rider Fabio Jakobsen remains in a serious but stable condition after undergoing facial surgery following a horrific crash during the Tour of Poland.

Jakobsen was placed in an induced coma after being airlifted to Wojewodzki Szpital in Katowice on Wednesday following the smash at the end of stage one. 

Dylan Groenewegen was disqualified and strongly condemned by governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for "dangerous behaviour", having appeared to nudge his Dutch compatriot into the barriers in a sprint finish.

Tests revealed Jakobsen did not suffer brain or spinal injuries, but he remains in a coma following an operation and doctors will attempt to wake the 23-year-old up later on Thursday.

Deceuninck-QuickStep said in a statement: "Fabio had facial surgery during the night. His situation is stable at the moment and later today the doctors will try to wake Fabio up."

Jumbo-Wisma, Groenewegen's team, issued an apology and said an internal review will take place.

"Our thoughts go out to Fabio Jakobsen and other people involved in today's terrible crash in the Tour of Poland. Crashes like these should not happen," the team tweeted.

"We offer our sincere apologies and we will discuss internally what has happened before we may make any further statement. #TDP20."

Deceuninck – Quick Step have confirmed Fabio Jakobsen is in a serious but stable condition following an incident in the Tour of Poland.

Jakobsen was sent over the barriers during a sprint finish with Dylan Groenewegen, who was subsequently disqualified by the UCI for appearing to nudge his competitor.

Several other riders were injured after crashing as the barriers split and flew across the road, with Jakobsen airlifted to hospital where he was placed into an induced coma.

Deceuninck – Quick Step have now provided an update on their rider's condition.

"Fabio Jakobsen's situation is serious but at the moment he is stable," a statement from the team read.

"Diagnostic tests did not reveal brain or spinal injury, but because of the gravity of his multiple injuries, he is still kept in a comatose condition and has to remain closely monitored in the following days at the Wojewodzki Szpital in Katowice.

"Further information will be made available in the course of the coming hours. Meanwhile, we would like to thank you for your heartwarming support."

Prior to Deceuninck – Quick Step's update, UCI strongly condemned the actions of Team Jumbo-Wisma rider Groenewegen.

Jumbo-Wisma posted on Twitter to apologise for the incident and said an internal review will be taking place.

"Our thoughts go out to Fabio Jakobsen and other people involved in today's terrible crash in the Tour of Poland. Crashes like these should not happen," it read.

"We offer our sincere apologies and we will discuss internally what has happened before we may make any further statement. #TDP20."

The UCI said it "strongly condemns the dangerous behaviour" of Dylan Groenewegen for causing the crash at the end of the first stage of the Tour of Poland that left Fabio Jakobsen in an induced coma.

Groenewegen won the stage but was later disqualified from the race after Jakobsen was sent careering over the barriers during a sprint finish.

Several other riders were injured after crashing as the barriers split and flew across the road.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider Jakobsen was airlifted to hospital, as was a course-side referee, where he was later placed into an induced coma.

A statement from UCI read: "[The UCI] strongly condemns the dangerous behaviour of rider Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Wisma), who sent Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) into the barriers a few metres from the finish, causing a collective crash at the end of the first stage of the Tour of Poland.

"Groenewegen was disqualified from the race by the commissaires' panel.

"The UCI, which considers the behaviour unacceptable, immediately referred the matter to the Disciplinary Commission to request the imposition of sanctions commensurate with the seriousness of the facts.

"Our Federation is wholeheartedly with the affected riders."

Jumbo-Wisma posted on Twitter to apologise for the incident and said an internal review will be taking place.

"Our thoughts go out to Fabio Jakobsen and other people involved in today's terrible crash in the Tour of Poland. Crashes like these should not happen," it read.

"We offer our sincere apologies and we will discuss internally what has happened before we may make any further statement. #TDP20."

Deceuninck-Quickstep posted: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Fabio Jakobsen. When we have news, we will let you know. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support."

Chris Froome believes the delay to the Tour de France will benefit his hopes of regaining the yellow jersey, claiming he is on the right trajectory for the race.

The Tour was postponed from June 27 to August 29 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It meant Froome, who missed all three Grand Tour events last year after suffering severe injuries in a high-speed crash, had more time to recover after returning to action in February.

Asked if the delay had helped him prepare for his push for a fifth Tour victory, Froome told Cyclingnews: "Very much so in fact.

"The delay to the major races has helped me take the next step in terms of being back to my normal self again.

"I think that given where we are right now, with just about a month to the Tour, I'm on the right trajectory for that race. I'm happy with where I'm at."

Froome will end his 10-year spell with Team INEOS at the culmination of the 2020 campaign to join Israel Start-Up Nation.

However, Froome is not thinking about his future beyond this season.

"There are going to be a lot of changes, but that's still a few months away, so I'm not really thinking about that now," said Froome. 

"I'm just focused on getting the best out of myself for the rest of the season."

 

 

Chris Froome will join Israel Start-Up Nation from the start of next season, after his departure from Team INEOS was confirmed on Thursday.

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome has agreed a "long-term" contract with ISN, tying him to the team until "the end of his illustrious career".

The 35-year-old, who also has a pair of Vuelta a Espana triumphs to his name along with the 2018 Giro d'Italia, will conclude the 2020 season with Team INEOS.

David Brailsford explained Froome's departure from the outfit formerly known as Team Sky was due to the fact he could no longer be assured of sole leadership of a squad that has produced Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal in the past two years.

ISN, where his team-mates will include Dan Martin and Andre Greipel, can offer that guarantee.

"I'm really excited to be joining the ISN family," Froome said. "I look forward to challenging and being challenged by their talent and continuing to strive for the success that I've enjoyed up to now.

"ISN's impact on the sport is rapidly expanding, and I'm energised to be along for the ride. I feel we can achieve great things together."

ISN co-owner Sylvan Adams believes Froome can become recognised as the finest rider in the history of the sport during his time with the team.

"This is an historic moment for ISN, Israel, Israeli sports, our many fans all around the world and, of course, for me personally – a moment of enormous pride," Adams said.

"Chris is the best rider of his generation and will lead our Tour de France and Grand Tour squad.

"We hope to make history together as Chris pursues further Tour de France and Grand Tour victories, achievements that would make a serious case for Chris to be considered the greatest cyclist of all time."

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome will leave Team INEOS at the end of this season, following a decade-long association.

Froome is out of contract in December and will part ways with the David Brailsford-helmed outfit – formerly known as Team Sky – because he can no longer be guaranteed sole team leadership.

The 35-year-old triumphed at Le Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, although INEOS' domination of road cycling's premier event continued with Geraint Thomas taking glory in 2018 and Egan Bernal prevailing in Froome's injury absence last year.

A scramble for the services of one of the sport's all-time greats is now set to ensue, although Cycling News reports Froome has agreed a multi-year contract with Israel Start-Up Nation.

"It has been a phenomenal decade with the team, we have achieved so much together and I will always treasure the memories," said Froome, who also won the Vuelta a Espana in 2011 and 2017 before completing the set of cycling's Grand Tours at the 2018 Giro d'Italia.

"I look forward to exciting new challenges as I move into the next phase of my career, but in the meantime my focus is on winning a fifth Tour de France with Team INEOS."

Froome superseded 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins as the team's dominant force when he topped the podium on the Champs-Elysees 12 months later.

However, Brailsford indicated the likes of Thomas and Bernal now have their esteemed team-mate on the other side of that equation.

"Chris' current contract comes to an end in December and we have taken the decision now not to renew it," he said.

"We are making this announcement earlier than would usually be the case to put an end to recent speculation and allow the team to focus on the season ahead.

"Chris has been with us from the start. He is a great champion and we have shared many memorable moments over the years, but I do believe this is the right decision for the team and for Chris.

"Given his achievements in the sport, Chris is understandably keen to have sole team leadership in the next chapter of his career - which is not something we are able to guarantee him at this point. A move away from Team INEOS can give him that certainty.

"At the same time, it will also give other members of our team the leadership opportunities they too have earned and are rightly seeking."

Elite sport is gradually returning to our screens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany's Bundesliga, the UFC and the NRL were among the first top-level events to forge a route back last month after pausing due to the global crisis.

A clutch of Europe's other top football leagues, cricket, motorsport and the United States' major competitions all have designs on behind-closed-doors resumptions in the near future, too, which could create a significant backlog of crucial fixtures.

One positive is that sports fans might now be treated to a number of colossal match-ups back-to-back on the same day at some point over the coming months.

That prospect gives us the opportunity to reflect on five similar occasions with the greatest sporting days since the turn of the century - including one exactly a year ago.

 

JULY 23, 2000

The US had a day to remember as two of their most prominent stars bolstered their still burgeoning reputations with big victories on foreign soil.

The paths of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong have subsequently diverged a little, however.

Woods became the youngest player to complete golf's career grand slam with a record-breaking victory at The Open in 2000, while Armstrong wrapped up a second straight Tour de France title.

The American duo stood at the top of the world, yet history will recall Armstrong's achievements rather differently now he has been stripped of each of his seven successive yellow jerseys for doping.

Woods at least maintained his high standards and held all four major titles after the 2001 Masters, winning again at Augusta as recently as last year.

FEBRUARY 1, 2004

Two more sporting greats shared the same special page in the calendar early in 2004.

It was a long day for anyone who took in both Roger Federer's performance in Melbourne's Australian Open final and Tom Brady's Super Bowl display in Houston, but they were duly rewarded.

Twenty-time grand slam champion Federer had won just one major before facing down Marat Safin in Australia, also becoming the ATP Tour's top-ranked player for the first time. He stayed at number one for a record-shattering 237 weeks.

Brady similarly then doubled his tally of Super Bowl rings by delivering a second triumph in three years for the Patriots, in what was a classic encounter against the Carolina Panthers.

Brady threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns, before Adam Vinatieri's field goal secured a 32-29 win with four seconds remaining.

AUGUST 4-5, 2012

One would struggle to find a greater array of star-studded athletes of various sports than those who congregated in London across the penultimate weekend of the 2012 Olympic Games.

On the Saturday evening, at the Aquatics Centre, swimming prepared to say goodbye to its greatest name. Michael Phelps and the United States won the 4x100m medley, clinching his 18th gold medal in what appeared set to be his final race.

Indeed, Phelps confirmed his retirement following the Games, only to return in predictably dominant fashion in 2016.

Across the city that same night, Team GB athletes were capping a stunning run of medals that would see the day dubbed "Super Saturday". There were six home golds in all, including big wins for Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah in quick succession.

The drama only continued the next day, too, as Andy Murray finally sealed a Wimbledon win over Federer in the tennis event, while Usain Bolt lit up London Stadium in the 100m.

JUNE 1, 2019

It is 12 months to the day since another epic sporting stretch, one that concluded in stunning fashion with one of boxing's great modern upsets.

Rugby union and football each had their respective turns in the spotlight earlier, with Saracens following up their European Champions Cup success - a third in four years - by retaining the Premiership title with victory over Exeter Chiefs.

In Madrid, two more English teams were in action as Liverpool edged past Tottenham in the Champions League final.

But as Sarries and the Reds celebrated, focus turned towards Madison Square Garden where Anthony Joshua was expected to make light work of Andy Ruiz Jr, a replacement for Jarrell Miller following a failed drugs test.

The heavyweight title match did not go to script, however, as Ruiz floored Joshua four times and forced a stoppage to claim his belts, albeit only until the rematch where the Briton saved face.

JULY 14, 2019

These crazy spectacles have largely seen sport spread throughout the day, but three sets of eyes were required to keep up with the action on an epic afternoon last July.

With England hosting and then reaching the Cricket World Cup final, the scene-stealing decider fell on the same day as the Wimbledon men's final and the British Grand Prix, ensuring the United Kingdom was the focus of the sporting world.

The cricket started off several hours before either the tennis or the F1 but still managed to outlast its rival events, with Ben Stokes determined to put on a show as England won via a dramatic Super Over at the end of a nine-hour saga against New Zealand.

Novak Djokovic was battling Stokes for attention as he was taken all the way by that man Federer at the All England Club before finally prevailing 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in the tournament's longest singles final.

The respective classics made the British GP, completed earlier in the day, something of an afterthought - but not for Lewis Hamilton, who claimed a record sixth victory.

Lance Armstrong has expressed remorse towards some of those hurt while covering up his multiple drug offences but still harbours animosity towards former team-mate Floyd Landis.

Armstrong is the subject of a new ESPN documentary LANCE, where he assesses his fall from grace on the back of being handed a lifetime ban from cycling in 2012, when a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigation led to him being stripped of the Tour de France victories he claimed from 1999 to 2005.

The 48-year-old cancer survivor accepts his treatment of Emma O'Reilly, the former soigneur on Armstrong's US Postal team and an early whistleblower in his case, and Italian cyclist Filippo Simeoni, who testified against Armstrong's now-disgraced doctor Michele Ferrari, was unacceptable.

However, he is unflinching when it comes to Landis – the 2006 Tour winner who was subsequently banned for doping before lifting the lid on Armstrong's regime and ultimately starting the chain of events that would bring about his downfall.

"Hey, it could be worse. I could be Floyd Landis," Armstrong told ESPN. "Waking up a piece of s*** every day. 

"That's what I know. I don't think it, I know it."

Along with prompting the USADA investigation that would conclude Armstrong and US Postal had run "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen", Landis also filed a lawsuit alleging Armstrong and the team had defrauded the federal government by taking US Postal Service sponsorship money while cheating.

Armstrong reached a $5million settlement in 2018.

"I hope he's changed and I hope he finds some peace. I don't know why people can't move on, but here we are," Landis told ESPN.

"At the time that I got hired by the Postal Service team they had already won the Tour de France three times with Armstrong. He was about as big a star as you could be at that point. That part made it easier for Armstrong to control that group of guys. He was the boss.

"Lance is a tough, hard motherf*****, but the rest of them were not. So they'll just take whatever beatings they get and smile."

Another of Armstrong's old colleagues, Tyler Hamilton, painted a similarly uncompromising picture and alleged the Texan was complicit in him being caught and banned for doping.

"In 2004 at the Dauphine I beat him in this time trial up Mont Ventoux," said Hamilton, who was riding for Phonak at the time, having accompanied Armstrong on his first three Tour victories.

"I've heard from sources that he was p***** and he called the UCI – this is what I was told – and said 'you've got to get this guy'.

"And, sure enough, they called that night. I don't know, most likely it happened.

"If I had to guess one way or the other I'd guess 'yes', [Armstrong] was something to do with me getting caught."

Armstrong does not address that allegation directly in the film, although he confirmed he wanted Tyler off the US Postal squad once he learnt of his Tour ambitions.

"You don't want that guy on your team. A guy on your team who thinks he can win the Tour? No – there's the door," he said.

Elsewhere, Armstrong suggested he was probably party to favourable treatment from the late UCI president Hein Verbruggen.

During the 1999 Tour, in the aftermath of the Festina doping scandals, Armstrong returned a positive cortisone test, which was covered up by a backdated prescription for saddle soreness that his team provided.

"If the question is 'how much did you have Hein Verbruggen in your pocket?' there's a lot of different ways to answer that," he said. "Financially… zero.

"He's no longer with us to answer this question himself but do I believe that Hein wanted to protect the sport? Yes. Protect me? Yes.

"He was coming off the heels of Festina. The world is following the story of this cancer survivor and then bam, a headline, cortisone found in his urine sample. 

"That type of cortisone was available a lot of different ways. You could inject it, you could have eyedrops, you could have a nasal spray, or you could have a cream.

"He's using the cream for saddle sores. And so Hein just [Armstrong claps hands, rubs them together]... It's like, that's it."

*** LANCE is available on ESPN Player throughout the UK, Europe and Africa from May 25th***

Disgraced cycling star Lance Armstrong has admitted he first used performance-enhancing drugs aged 21.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and handed a lifetime ban in 2012 following a United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation.

Having denied cheating repeatedly throughout his career, Armstrong belatedly admitted to using banned substances during a January 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The legitimacy of the American's achievements had long been the subject of conjecture after he came back from testicular cancer to dominate cycling's blue ribband event from 1999 to 2005.

However, in the new ESPN documentary LANCE, the 48-year-old confirmed his history with illegal drugs stretched back much further to his maiden campaign as a professional.

"In terms of crossing the line, to something that [you would be punished for] if you admitted it or tested positive, then that wouldn't have been until 21 years old," he told ESPN. "My first professional season.

"At that time in the sport it was cortisone, or cortisone pre-cursors, or drugs that stimulate your body's own production of cortisone. 

"It was just ingrained in the culture of the sport."

Armstrong is most infamous for his use of EPO and working alongside controversial doctor Michele Ferrari – describing the blood-boosting agent as "a whole other level" and "rocket fuel" compared to the "low-octane doping" of cortisone.

In the documentary, he also conceded to using human growth hormone (HGH) during 1996 and pondered whether this was a factor in his cancer diagnosis.

"You know, I don't know the answer to that," he said. "I don't want to say no, because I don't think that's right either. I don't know if it's yes or no, but I certainly wouldn't say no.

"The only thing I will tell you is, the only time in my life, that I ever did growth hormone, was the 1996 season.

"And so just in my head, I'm like, growth… growing hormones and cells, like… if anything good needs to be grown, it does. But wouldn't it also make sense that if anything bad, is there, that it too would grow?" 

Following his return to professional cycling in 1998, Armstrong insisted he had no concerns over the potential adverse effects of a cancer survivor using EPO.

"In many ways - and this is not going to be a popular answer - EPO is a safe drug," he said. "Assuming certain things, assuming [it is] taken properly, taken under the guidance of a medical professional, taken in conservative amounts.

"There are far worse things you can put in your body."

Armstrong believes his considerable fall from grace and resulting absence from the public eye might have actually brought benefits, particularly for his family.

"The last five years has really caused me to pause and try to understand, not just myself but what this story meant to other people, what this story meant to the world," he said.

"And you know, that's a heavy thing to think about. I never knew the story was as big as it was. I knew it was big, but I didn't know it was that big.

"If I was competing today, I could tell you who my peers would be. My peers would be Michael Phelps, LeBron James, and so I see where they are… and so only now do I realise, 'that's where you were'.

"That's where I was. I really don't miss that. And I think, if I'd stayed there, it wouldn't have been good for my family." 

*** LANCE is available on ESPN Player throughout the UK, Europe and Africa from May 25th***

This year's Vuelta a Espana will no longer hold two of its stages in Portugal due to the coronavirus crisis.

Stages 15 and 16 were originally due to take place across the cities of Porto, Matosinhos and Viseu but will now be held in Spain as part of an alternative route.

The Vuelta announced on Saturday the decision had been taken "due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis".

It added it had proven impossible to guarantee "optimal conditions for the smooth passage of the race in the country". 

"The municipalities of Porto, Matosinhos and Viseu, in agreement with Unipublic, organisers of La Vuelta, have decided to cancel the passage of La Vuelta 20 in Portugal," read a statement on the race's official website.

Last month, plans to hold the first three stages of the race in the Netherlands were scrapped.

The start date was also postponed from August 14 to October 20 to accommodate a two-month delay to the Tour de France, meaning the Vuelta will overlap with the rescheduled Giro d'Italia.

Organisers said there will be no more alterations after the decision not to travel through Portugal.

The only section of the race outside of Spain that remains comes in stage nine, which finishes atop the Col du Tourmalet in France.

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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