World Championships cancellation disappoints Pinot and Küng

Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot on the opening stage of the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné
Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot on the opening stage of the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Groupama-FDJ teammates Thibaut Pinot and Stefan Küng have both expressed their disappointment at the decision made on Wednesday to cancel the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Switzerland. "It's a shame," said Pinot, who would likely have been among the favourites for the rainbow jersey on the tough road race course in Martigny. "I've had it as an objective for three years, since the course was announced, so naturally it's a disappointment."

Swiss rouleur Küng had recently announced that he was considering leaving the Tour de France a few days before its Paris finale in order to focus on trying to win gold in his home nation in the time trial event, which was set to clash with the Tour's final stage.

"It's a real pity," said Küng, who, like Bardet is currently racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné in France. "I hadn't really thought too much about the fact that it could be cancelled. When the new calendar was announced, it was immediately apparent that there was a clash between the Tour's final day and the Worlds time trial, and everyone was asking me, 'What are you going to do?' Basically, all I could say was, 'Let's wait to see what happens.'"

Pinot expressed the hope that the Worlds might only be postponed and that they might take place in Switzerland in the near future.

"Let's hope there's an opportunity to compete one day in a Swiss World Championships, on a magnificent course for climbers," said the Frenchman, adding that the decision wouldn't have any impact on his preparations for the Tour de France.

"Our first primary objective will now end on the evening the Tour reaches the Champs-Elysées, and not a week later. It doesn't affect my plans for the Tour at all," he explained.

Küng said that he respected the Swiss government's decision to limit large gatherings to fewer than 1,000 people, which is what led to the cancellation of the Worlds.

"This underlines that we have to take races day by day. The situation is quite complicated," he acknowledged. "But it's clear that for us, the riders, it's a real shame."

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).