WHITEY’S TDF 2020 ROUTE REVIEW: ‘It will create a very aggressive style of racing’Tue 15 Oct 2019
The course for the 2020 Tour de France was unveiled in Paris today, with an exciting looking route presented that the organisers hope will produce aggressive racing across the three weeks of action.
Mitchelton-SCOTT head sports director Matt White was in the audience at the Palais des Congres in the French capital and we spoke to him to get his thoughts on next year’s Tour route.
The major takeaway from the course presentation has been the number of difficult stages spread throughout the duration of the race, with two hilltop finishes coming in the opening week and a tough second stage in Nice set to shake things up early.
Matt White: “I like the course. I would have expected a little bit more time trialling kilometres and a little bit more high altitude. But in general, the route is a good one.”
“I think the thing that stands out for me is that the difficulties in the race are very sporadic and are scattered right throughout the route. When you look at stage two with 4000 metres of climbing and then on stage four there’s the first hilltop finish. The back end of the Tour is very hard, but the difficulties start straight away. So, it’s a tough one”
The Opening Week
The intense start to the three weeks means that those battling for the general classification will need to be switched on and focussed as soon as the peloton roll out of Nice. But that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as Whitey explains.
“I think for the key guys and the guys going for GC it won’t really affect them too much, gone are the days that you’re building through the Tour de France, you’re arriving at the Tour at 95% and ready to go by the time we get to the first real selective day.”
“What it does change is that the majority of the peloton will be off GC very early, which means you will see an aggressive style of racing because it’s going to be a little bit easier for teams to control.”
“Normally in the first week when it starts in northern France you usually have five or six sprint stages and it’s controlled by the sprinter’s teams, but next year those teams will have to take a bit of a backseat.”
Another major talking point of the 2020 course design is the lack of time trials, with just one race against the clock coming on the penultimate stage. However, the 36-kilometre test will culminate with the punishing ramps of the La Planche des Belle Filles.
“It’s 30 kilometres of flat, then six kilometres of climbing. The race wants the battle to come down to the wire and I think with the course they’ve designed they could potentially have that affect.”
Most seem in agreement that the 2020 Tour de France will produce aggressive racing from the off and Whitey has no complaints when looking ahead to tackling the Tour with Mitchelton-SCOTT.
“I think in general, across the three weeks it will create a very aggressive style of racing because the GC teams won’t have to defend against a lot of the peloton from early on.”
“I think it’s a good-looking route for teams that are versatile and can race aggressively so there’s certainly no complaints about the course from our behalf as a team.”
Photo courtesy of Kristof Ramon.