The 2019 Tour de France is just a matter of days away and already the Cyclingnews team have arrived in Brussels for the Grand Départ.
Wednesday saw the first set of team press conferences, with EF Education First and FDJ Groupama holding court in front of the gathering media. After our exclusive behind-the-scenes podcast with EF last week, we were back for more and we sat down with Michael Woods for a second time as he talks about his imminent Tour de France debut.
We debate Thibaut Pinot’s chances of ending the French nation’s drought in their home race but also wind the clock back and discuss the controversial call from Dimension Data to leave Mark Cavendish out of their Tour de France squad. The Manxman has struggled for form and fitness for the last two seasons and despite a reputation as one of the fastest riders of the last ten years team owner Doug Ryder saw no place for him in the squad’s starting eight.
Team Sunweb held their pre-Tour press conference on Wednesday too, but it the Netherlands rather than Brussels. The event was dominated by news surrounding the squad’s team leaders. Michael Matthews announced that he had extended his contract for a further two years, while Tom Dumoulin – who isn’t racing the Tour – has denied speculation that he was on the cusp of breaking his contract and moving to Jumbo-Visma.
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