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De Gendt hopeful but unconvinced that Tour de France will run in 2020

Lotto Soudal’s Thomas De Gendt at the 2020 Schwalbe Classic
Lotto Soudal’s Thomas De Gendt at the 2020 Schwalbe Classic (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Lotto Soudal's Thomas De Gendt has told the Belgian media that he remains unconvinced that there will be any more racing for the 2020 season, although he would be only too pleased if there was a way for the three Grand Tours and the Monuments to take place.

"I can't imagine that the virus will suddenly disappear and everything will just go back to normal. Sport will be one of the last things to be considered. So yes, I still believe that Paris-Nice was the last race of 2020," De Gendt told VTM News on Tuesday, according to a report on HLN.be.

The French government moved on Monday to extend the nation's lockdown period until at least May, while no large public gatherings will be permitted ahead of mid-July, which put paid to the Tour de France possibly taking place on its original dates of June 27-July 19.

"It wasn't a surprise, but it's still a pity," De Gendt said of the decision. "Now our goal has been extended by another month. Is it the right decision? It's for the French government to decide, and we have to accept that decision."

Spanish newspaper Marca reported on Tuesday that the Tour could take place during August, with the Vuelta a España in September and the Giro d'Italia in October.

"It's still being discussed, but that would be a good compromise for all three Grand Tours," said De Gendt. "The Monuments [cycling's five biggest one-day Classics] could then be organised for in between."

French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré, meanwhile, has reported that Tour organisers ASO are looking to run the iconic French stage race from August 29-September 20.

'Everyone will be fresh'

"There aren't going to be any preparation races," De Gendt suggested, "which means that the Tour will be slower. Not many riders will have been able to do any altitude training camps, and there'll be some differences between riders depending on where they live. But everyone will be fresh."

On his everyday life as the pandemic continues, De Gendt added: "It's not really any different for me compared to a normal week. I'm at home, and I train, but there's just no racing.

"It's difficult doing endurance work; I don't feel like training outside for six hours because there's no real goal," said De Gendt, who – unlike his colleagues in France, Spain and Italy – is still able to train outside.

"I often ride on the rollers, and then go out for a two-three-hour ride in the afternoon, which breaks my day up," he said.