Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome fears large crowds
The Tour, which was originally scheduled to start on June 27, has been postponed by the organizer, Amaury Sport Organization, to August 29 due to the pandemic.
Mass gatherings of more than 5,000 people were banned in France until September, the country registering more than 168,000 cases of coronavirus and 24,900 deaths.
The event is anchored in French culture and society and attracts millions of fans each year to travel the routes of the 21 stages of the Tour.
Froome, however, believes this could be the year that beats the trend by hosting the fanless event.
“Would the organizers be able to prevent people from coming and gathering in large crowds? In theory, we can start the race without people standing on the roads and it can be broadcast on TV” said Froome in a live Instagram chat with the old England. cricketer Kevin Pietersen on Sunday.
“You will not get the same scenes as you would go through these tunnels of people everywhere and everything else.
“This may be the version of the race we need to see this year. I don’t know.”
French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu poured cold water over the prospect that the event would take place behind closed doors.
“We will have to be patient, move cautiously and not make plans that are too ambitious. If, in September, things get even better, all events on the calendar, such as the Tour de France, Roland Garros or other major events could take place, “Maracineau told RMC Radio on Thursday.
“These two events require spectators: for the Roland Garros box office, for the joy and excitement of the Tour de France. They will only take place if the public is authorized to attend. They will not take place at behind closed doors.” ”
CNN contacted the ASO race organizer for a comment.
The 34-year-old Froome missed last year’s race after sustaining career-threatening injuries in a high-speed crash while training for the Dauphine Criterium, but uses the delay to make up for the lost training time.
“Some days I do up to six hours sitting on the stationary trainer – big days,” said Froome.
“Much of the training I did was done indoors, so it almost prepared me for this whole lockdown period, and mentally, I was able to get through a little more easily.”
When the Tour begins, Froome will have a history in sight with the Briton to a single victory in the record for the number of victories held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.