Chris Froome believes the Tour de France can work without spectators – but questioned how organisers can prevent large crowds converging along the course.
Initially due to start on 27 June, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the Tour back until 29 August and doubts remain given the differing Covid-19 situations across the world. The French government says no mass gatherings can take place before September, but has clarified the Tour could still go ahead on its new dates if the opening stages are managed correctly.
That is one of the main things Froome believes will be hard to manage as he continues to prepare for a tilt at another victory to add to the four he already has.
“For sure we can put the race on without people standing on the roads and fans in that sense,” the Team Ineos rider said. “I mean, we can put on the race and it can be broadcast on television. You’re not going to get the same scenes as you would get going through these tunnels of just people everywhere and all the rest of it. Maybe that’s the version of race we need to see this year. I don’t know.
“In theory, we can put the race on but I think the bigger question is would the organisers be able to keep people from actually coming out and gathering in large crowds?”
The 34-year-old missed last year’s race after suffering career-threatening injuries in a crash. And Froome has been hitting the gym first thing every day to try to replicate what he would be doing this time of the year in preparation for the Tour.
“Some days I’m even doing up to six hours sitting on the stationary trainer – big days,” he told Kevin Pietersen on an Instagram Live. “It gets pretty boring at times. I’ve been through every playlist I own about 10 times each. But, yeah, just getting through it and doing the best I can.
“Obviously, I’m coming off the back of a big injury now as well. A lot of the training I’ve been doing up until this point has been indoors already, so it’s almost prepared me in a way for this whole lockdown period and I think mentally I’m obviously able to get through it a bit easier.”