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French champion Barguil ready to deliver food to locals

French road race champion Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) at the 2020 Drome Classic, where he finished second
French road race champion Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) at the 2020 Drome Classic, where he finished second (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

French road race champion Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) has offered his cycling services to help deliver food in his home region of Brittany to people who can't get to the shops during France's coronavirus lockdown.

According to L'Equipe, Barguil let the food-delivery platform know that he was ready to help as soon as he saw the social-media post.

"If you're looking for a bicycle delivery man in the Lorient region for people who can't get around, I am available," Barguil wrote back.

When locals couldn't believe that it was really Barguil who was prepared to deliver food in their area, the 28-year-old had to allay any doubts.

"I'm serious – this is no joke. If I can help, it's my pleasure to," he replied.

The Frenchman's in fact not the first professional rider to offer their help as a cyclist to their local community. Italian Astana rider Davide Martinelli has been delivering medicines by bike to people in his Lombardy village of Lodetto, after picking them up from the pharmacy in the town of Rovato, half an hour away.

Meanwhile, Jumbo-Visma's Dylan Groenewegen and Boels Dolmans' Jolien D'hoore have been delivering food by bike to those who can't get to the shops near to their homes in the Netherlands and Belgium, respectively.

"I want to make myself useful to people who need help," Barguil told L'Equipe.

"I don't think anyone imagined at the start that it was going to be for this long," he said of the measures put in place by governments around the world to fight the COVID-19 pandemic . "It's a very, very bizarre feeling. My wife goes out shopping once a week, and I've not gone more than a kilometre from the house. The positive aspect of confinement, however, is that I've really enjoyed spending time with my wife and our little boy.

"This virus reminds us that everyone is vulnerable," continued Barguil. "It can take time, but we can't help but let the storm pass. It's not easy for anyone to stay cloistered at home, though – especially not those who are used to travelling a lot to go to races."

Barguil took the tricolour French champion's jersey last June, and only semi-joked that he was in danger of becoming the national champion who'd worn the jersey for the fewest racing days – if the championships happened again in June.

That's looking increasingly unlikely, and he may in fact end up holding the iconic jersey for considerably longer than a year as the inability for races to be held rumbles on.

Barguil has raced for only seven days so far in 2020: the four days of the Tour de la Provence, one-day races the Ardèche Classic and the Drome Classic – where he was second – and the opening day of Paris-Nice, from which he was disqualified after sheltering behind his team car when trying to make it back to the bunch after a crash.

"At Arkéa-Samsic, we'd got some superb results between the start of the season and competition being stopped," Barguil said, with the team's new signing, Nairo Quintana, winning a stage and the overall title at both the Tour de la Provence and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, as well as the final stage of Paris-Nice, and Nacer Bouhanni sprinting to stage wins at both the Tour de la Provence and the Saudi Tour.

"It's a little frustrating, as we were doing so well," said Barguil, "but we hope to be able to pick up where we left off when everything starts up again."

The big talking point currently is when, and if, the Tour de France can be rescheduled after the French government announced on Monday that no large public gatherings will be able to be held before mid-July, effectively ending the possibility that the Tour could still be held between its original dates of June 27-July 19.

"The Tour is a showcase for cycling, and remains the race that can revitalise everything," said Barguil. "It's obvious that it must take place, but certainly not before the global health situation has been resolved."