Preview: Pyrenean doubleheader offers launchpad but tough Tour de France inspires caution

Will Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma teammates be content to continue to follow the pace, or will stage 8 be where they make their move at the 2020 Tour de France?
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The riders make the race at the Tour de France, not the route. It was ever thus, and the hoary adage was borne out once again by an opening week where a stage earmarked for the sprinters provoked more drama and more telling gaps in the general classification than two mountaintop finishes combined.

The demanding 2020 parcours was hailed for its invention when it was unveiled last October but its onerous nature – not to mention Jumbo-Visma's striking collective strength – appears to have stifled the overall contenders' sense of adventure, rather than encouraged it. Aside from Julian Alaphilippe and Adam Yates' aggression on stage 2, the grand manoeuvres have been collective efforts, from Jumbo-Visma's forcing at Orcières-Merlette to Bora-Hansgrohe and Ineos Grenadiers' successive shifts on the front en route to Lavaur.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.