Tour de France favourite Primoz Roglic insists he is "feeling fine" ahead of the rescheduled event, which has been given the green light to begin on Saturday.

Roglic had been in supreme form prior to a heavy fall at the Criterium du Dauphine on August 15 that left his participation in cycling's biggest event hanging in the balance.

However, the Vuelta champion - who has ex-Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin in support on the Jumbo-Visma team - has made a full recovery and will rival last year's winner Egan Bernal for the yellow jersey 

"I feel fine. I'm here at the Tour start now, so that's good news," the Jumbo-Visma rider said at a news conference on Thursday. 

"It's been a different plan - we didn't expect this complicated start with the crash and it took some time to restart and do the things I wanted to but in the last days I managed it."

The event is going ahead nearly two months later than usual owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

It starts in Nice this weekend before crisscrossing France over the next few weeks.

Doubts had been raised over whether the Tour will even start, never mind make it all the way to Paris on September 20, with COVID-19 continuing to spread across the country.

But, speaking on Thursday, France's Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer insisted the competition is "a sign that we can continue to live, and the resilience of our society."

That could yet change, though, with the Lotto-Soudal team announcing two days before the start date that two of their support staff had tested "non-negative" for coronavirus.

And Dumoulin, who was runner-up in his last Tour appearance, admits it is a case of taking the race on a day-by-day basis.

"At the moment it doesn't look good with some of the numbers around Nice and France but at the moment we are just in our own bubble," the Dutchman said.

"We don't have a strategic plan to be in the lead in case the race stops after one and a half weeks.

"The winner after one and a half weeks isn't the real winner of the Tour de France. That's not a Tour de France, that's a 10-day race. 

"It's a completely different race. We're preparing for a Grand Tour and we want to win the Tour de France."

This year's Tour could be the most open in a long time, with Team INEOS rider Bernal considered by some the man to beat after becoming the youngest winner of the yellow jersey in over a century when he triumphed last year.

Former winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have been left behind but Bernal looks in good stead, even if he pulled out of the Dauphine early because of a back issue.

Elsewhere, Thibaut Pinot of Team Groupama is France's best hope of a first winner in 34 years and is determined to make the most of a favourable route.

"Last year was a huge disappointment but I will get over it," he said of the thigh injury that curtailed his 2019 Tour. 

"I've realised that I could aim extremely high. That was the worst disappointment of my career. 

"I had the best form I've ever had in my career. To lose all of that in an instant was too much to bear."

Dave Brailsford is backing Chris Froome to show his "remarkable" mental strength and recover from injury with a Vuelta a Espana challenge as he explained the decision to leave two of Team INEOS' top performers out of their Tour de France line-up.

INEOS last week named their Tour team but found no room for either Froome or Geraint Thomas, who have five general classification titles between them.

The hugely successful British outfit are instead again relying on Egan Bernal, the 2019 champion, as Froome and Thomas target the Vuelta and Giro d'Italia respectively.

Froome, 35, only returned to competitive racing in February after a horrific crash at the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine left him with multiple serious injuries. He will join Israel Start-Up Nation next year.

Speaking at the team's season launch, INEOS general manager Brailsford outlined exactly why Froome and Thomas had been held back.

"They're both big champions," Brailsford said of the pair.

"Chris is obviously coming back from his accident. He's won more than anybody else in this current generation. He's a legend of the sport.

"But with a cycling team, the cycling season is spread over the Grand Tours, it's not all about one race. We look at our riders and see who's the best suited to go for the big races.

"We've decided for Geraint to focus on the tour of Italy, a very important race for us. To try to double up on the back of his Tour win and try to win the tour of Italy, that would be amazing.

"For Chris, he has a little bit longer to get back from his injury and then focus on the tour of Spain. He's won it before and he's on his way back.

"You've got to admire his tenacity and his mental strength to come back to where he has. It's remarkable. I'm sure he can get back to that level and challenge for the tour of Spain."

The Tour is going ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic, yet Bernal is confident the riders' competitive spirit will not be impacted by the crisis.

"I think the race will be the same," Bernal said. "With or without COVID, we will go full gas.

"The racing will be the same, but when we arrive in the hotel or at the start or the finish, it will be different. We will miss the people. Fortunately, they can see on the TV."

Mark Cavendish will miss a second successive Tour de France, but this time there were no complaints about being excluded from his team's plans.

The British rider last year said he was "heartbroken" at being left out by Team Dimension Data, convinced he had recovered from illness and was in prime shape to compete.

Having switched allegiance since to Bahrain-McLaren, Cavendish must again watch from a distance as the world's most prestigious Grand Tour takes place without him.

The Bahrain-McLaren team are structuring their plans around a yellow jersey push for Mikel Landa, and there was no room for Cavendish in the eight-rider line-up that was unveiled on Friday.

Cavendish ranks second only to the great Belgian Eddy Merckx (34) among riders with the most stage wins in the race, having triumphed 30 times, and it remains to be seen whether the 35-year-old gets a future shot at the Tour.

He is optimistic about his prospects for 2021, saying it promises to be "a big year".

In a video message responding to his omission, Cavendish said that "some people are going to be happy about that, some people are going to be disappointed".

Cavendish, a former points classification winner in the Tour, added: "Simply put, I just don't feel I'm ready this year for the Tour de France.

"It's the hardest parcours I've seen in my entire career and I'm a rider who needs a lot of racing to get going and I just haven't had that this year, with COVID-19.

"We do have an incredible GC [general classification] contender with Mikel Landa and an incredibly strong team to support.

"I'm looking forward. I'm super excited for the rest of the year. We've got some good goals, good races lined up, and I'm looking forward to using it to build into a big year next year."

The delayed Tour gets under way in Nice on August 29, having been postponed from its intended June 27 start date because of the pandemic.

Chris Froome feels the Vuelta a Espana represents a more realistic target for him in 2020, though concedes missing out on the Tour de France will be a "readjustment".

Team INEOS announced on Wednesday that four-time Tour de France winner Froome and 2018 champion Geraint Thomas had not been included in their squad for the first Grand Tour of the year, which will begin on August 29.

Froome, who will move to Israel Start-Up Nation next year, will instead target the Vuelta as Thomas leads INEOS' charge at the Giro d'Italia.

Reigning Tour champion Egan Bernal will spearhead the team's hunt for an eighth title in nine years and will be supported by debutant Richard Carapaz, who won the Giro last year.

The decision ends speculation over how INEOS would approach the Tour with a star-studded list of options.

Froome, 35, only returned to competitive racing in February after a horrific crash at the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine left him with multiple serious injuries.

While he will now have to wait until 2021 for his next chance to win a record-equalling fifth Tour, the Briton accepted his ongoing recovery meant the Vuelta option made sense.

"It's definitely a readjustment for me, moving the goalposts from the Tour de France to the Vuelta," said Froome.

"But I think, given where I've come from through the last year, I've had an incredible recovery from the big crash I had last year.

"I'm in a very fortunate position to be back racing now, but I'm not confident that I can really fulfil the necessary job that would be needed for me at this year's Tour de France.

"I think it's a lot more realistic targeting the Vuelta and gives me the chance to really get stuck into something that is deliverable.

"At the end of the day, people have to remember that I'm coming back from a horrendous crash last year where I fractured a lot of bones in my body. I'm still coming back to that full level of fitness at the moment."

All three Grand Tours will take place in quick succession after the coronavirus pandemic caused scheduling changes to the professional cycling calendar.

The Tour is scheduled to end on September 20, with the Giro taking place from October 3-25 and a shortened Vuelta scheduled for October 20-November 8.

Thomas will now look to join an elite group who have won different grand tours.

"It's nice to finally have a firm plan in place and to know exactly what I'm doing and try and get some kind of positive out of this year," he said.

"I've always enjoyed racing there - I love Italy, the fans and the food, obviously. It's a race I've always enjoyed anyway, so I'm certainly looking forward to going back and that is the plan now."

Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have been left out of Team INEOS' line-up for the 2020 Tour de France, it has been announced.

Four-time champion Froome and 2018 winner Thomas were not included in the eight-man line-up for the first Grand Tour of the year, which will begin on August 29.

Froome, who will move to Israel Start-Up Nation next year, will target the Vuelta a Espana and Thomas will lead INEOS' charge at the Giro d'Italia.

Reigning Tour champion Egan Bernal will spearhead the team's hunt for an eighth title in nine years and will be supported by debutant Richard Carapaz, who won the Giro last year.

Froome only returned to competitive racing in February after a horrific crash at the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine left him with multiple serious injuries.

He will now have to wait until 2021 for his next chance to win a record-equalling fifth Tour.

Team principal Dave Brailsford said: "I am very proud that we have several current, and I am sure future, Grand Tour champions in the team.

"Selecting the right leader in the right race with the right support team is critical and has meant we have had to analyse all the latest information to make sure we are in the best position possible to optimise our performances in the coming months. 

"Egan will once again target the yellow jersey in France and we are very excited to give last year's Giro winner, Richard Carapaz, his debut in this year's Tour also.

"Geraint will target the Giro and take on the opportunity to double up his Tour de France win with another Grand Tour title, with the aim of being the first Welshman to win it. 

"In turn, Chris Froome will target the Vuelta. Chris is a legend of our sport, a true champion who has demonstrated incredible grit and determination to come back from his crash last year.

"We want to support him to compete for another Grand Tour title and the Vuelta gives him that little bit more time to continue his progress to the top level."

Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have been left out of Team INEOS' line-up for the 2020 Tour de France, it has been announced.

Fabio Jakobsen feels "grateful to be alive" but faces months of further surgery and treatment following a serious crash in the Tour of Poland.

The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider was placed in an induced coma in hospital after a coming-together with Dylan Groenewegen saw him collide with the barriers at high speed during a sprint finish of the opening stage.

Groenewegen, who was "devastated" by the incident, was suspended by Jumbo-Visma and could be facing further punishment from the UCI.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Jakobsen detailed the lengthy recovery period he is now facing after admitting he feared he would die in hospital when he became conscious in intensive care.

"The trauma doctors and nurses at the finish line in Katowice saved my life, for which I am extremely grateful to them," the 23-year-old said. 

"I spent a week in the intensive care unit at St. Barbara hospital in Sosnowiec. Here they immediately operated on me for five hours and gave me the chance to live. I am very grateful to all employees of this hospital.

"It was a difficult, dark period for me in the ICU, where I was afraid of not surviving. Thanks in part to the organization behind the Tour de Pologne and my team Deceuninck – Quick-Step, my family was able to be close to me, which gave me a lot of strength.

"Last Wednesday I was transferred to the Leiden University Medical Center. I was admitted to the ENT department and treated further. Step by step I can start to live more independently.

"Currently I am at home, where the wounds in my face and my injuries can continue to recover. In addition, I have to rest a lot in the coming months because of a severe concussion. In the coming weeks and months, I will undergo multiple surgeries and treatments to fix facial injuries.

"Hereby, I want to let everyone know that I am very grateful that I am still alive. All the messages and words of support have given me tremendous strength. Step by step I can slowly look to the future, and I will fight to recover.

"In particular I would like to thank Dr. Rafael, who was my surgeon in Poland, Dr. Vanmol, who was present as a team doctor in Poland, Patrick Lefevere who brought my family close to me and Agata Lang and family who, on behalf of the Tour of Poland, did very well in taking care of my family."

Belgian cyclist Remco Evenepoel survived a dramatic fall from a bridge but suffered a fractured pelvis from his plunge into a ravine during Saturday's Il Lombardia road race.

The 20-year-old rising star of the Deceuninck-QuickStep team collided with the wall at the edge of a bridge before tumbling from his bike, falling forward and disappearing from view.

The dramatic accident was caught by television cameras, with the race being broadcast across Europe.

Italian media reports said he fell at least 10 metres but did not lose consciousness.

Evenepoel, a former Belgium football international at youth level, also sustained a bruised lung.

In a statement, his team said: "Remco Evenepoel crashed inside the last 50 kilometres, on the descent of Muro di Sormano, hitting a bridge wall and going over it into a ravine.

"Placed into a precautionary neck brace and taken to the Como hospital by ambulance, Remco was conscious at all times as he underwent a series of examinations to reveal the extent of his injury.

"Unfortunately, the X-rays showed a fractured pelvis and a right lung contusion, which will keep Evenepoel – a winner of four stage races this season – on the sidelines for the upcoming period. Our rider will remain in the hospital overnight under observation, before flying on Sunday to Belgium."

Belgian cyclist Remco Evenepoel fell from a bridge during Saturday's Il Lombardia road race in Italy and was taken to hospital.

The 20-year-old rising star of the Deceuninck-QuickStep team was shown by television cameras following the race appearing to collide with the wall at the edge of a bridge before tumbling from his bike, falling forward and disappearing from view.

Italian media reports said he fell at least 10 metres and was injured but did not lose consciousness.

Evenepoel's team said the incident occurred on the descent of the Sormano hill, when their rider, a former junior Belgium football international, was among a group contesting positions towards the head of the race.

"He is at the Como hospital, where he is conscious and his condition is being assessed by the medical team. We hope to have more news soon," said the Deceuninck-Quickstep team on Twitter.

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."

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