Photo: Philippe Lopez, Agence France-Presse
The director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme
Two months of the Grand depart set on 29 August in Nice, the next Tour de France will be ” unique and singular “, in the opinion of its director, Christian Prudhomme, who has returned to the AFP on the problems posed by the deferral of two months decided due to the pandemic.
QUESTION : What is going to change this deferral, of two months ?
ANSWER : ” This will be a unique Tour, since he never is gone too, later, formally in the summer but outside of the holiday period. A Tower is singular, there will be real questions friendly compared to riders, including the way to prepare will be different this year. It will be a priori less hot, no doubt there will be more wind. On the side of the road, we can expect that there is probably less world, but the feast will be there, in respect of sanitary measures. “
Q : What have you decided on the plan for health care ?
R : ” Since the beginning, we are in link with the public authorities, and with the sporting bodies. I also was struck by the unity of the world of cycling and listening to authorities. There was little release in march and April, outside of the announcement of the dates of the report, because I thought it was incongruous that we talk about sport at that time. But it has worked and it continues to do so. “
Q : when will there be more ?
R : ” The situation is changing day by day. The specifications will be defined in the period from the end of July, beginning of August. What we can say is that there will be a race with the best riders. The advertising caravan will have a hundred vehicles, to the tune of about 60% compared to the previous years. The economic crisis affects different sectors of activity. “
Q : And what about the other measures ?
R : ” there will surely be no kisses or hugs at awards ceremonies. And one may think that this is certainly not the best year to recover autographs. The public will be able to come on the Tour but there will probably be a filter more or less severe. In the passes, they will encourage those who ascend it on foot, by bike or in the transport set up by the communities. But, I repeat, the situation is changing day by day. What will it be in two months ? “
Q : The Dauphiné (12 to 16 August) will be used for rehearsal ?
R : ” sanitary measures shall be applied on the Dauphiné. As on the other races of the calendar. “
Q : What do you plan to do during the period originally scheduled for the Tour de France (June 27-July 19) ?
R : ” We would like to put more than ever before, our support for the bicycle in the everyday life, which is good to health, which does not pollute. We are going to help the Secours Populaire, with which we are working since 2008. We will also go up with Emmaus an operation for the collection of used bicycles and repair them, with the communities. There is a third pane with Qhubeka, providing bikes to kids in townships in South Africa. For my part, I’ll go over several stages of the Tour dates, to meet elected officials, to the media. “
Q : Is this a challenge for the organization ?
R : ” The essence of the organization is to adapt. We started to meet the challenge in obtaining the approval of all the elected officials involved. From what I have heard most often is “the Tower will always be the Tour”. It was fascinating ! Sportingly and in the media, the Tour is the same. On the other hand, there has been a patch to ask, because it could not borrow exactly the same route in September. In Lyon, for example, it has three kilometres less on the stage, the climb to Fourvière in the least. But it is at the margin ! “
Interview by Jean Montois