Lotto Soudal's Thomas De Gendt says that he expects "very strange things" to happen at the Tour de France – providing the French stage race goes ahead this summer – as a result of the likely lack of racing in the build-up to it.
"If the next race is the Tour, then I expect very strange things," De Gendt told Het Nieuwsblad on Monday. "Riders who you think should perform well will perform badly, and vice-versa.
"At the beginning of the season, you go to races to warm up and build up for other races," he said. "Some riders need tough races to get into top condition – others don't."
De Gendt said at the weekend that he was glad that Paris-Nice went ahead last week – and the 33-year-old Belgian went on the attack on the final stage on Saturday, knowing that it could be his last race for some time.
"I wanted to go deep one last time," he explained, and is now likely to train with a view to racing the Tour as May's Giro d'Italia – which De Gendt was set to race at – has been postponed.
"I think I will be forced to start working towards the Tour," he said. "But if there are any races that happen before then, then I want to race them."
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, meanwhile, reminded HLN.be at the weekend that "there are still more than 100 days until the Grand Départ [in Nice on June 27]".
Although it looks likely that Tour organiser ASO's April races – Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne – will all be cancelled or postponed, Prudhomme put a positive spin on the likely enthusiasm that will come when the professional peloton is back in action.
"When the racing starts up again, the hunger for it will be immense – bigger than before," he said.