March 24, 2020 § 5 Comments
French Ministress of Sport, Roxana Maracineanu, announced today that yesterday’s cancelation of the 2020 Tour de France had been reversed, and that a stripped-down version of the event would go ahead in a revised format.
When asked what the stripped-down format would entail, she quickly answered, “Strippers. We will have many of the, how do you say, dances on the pole?”
Critics such as five-time Tour victor Bernard Hinault were critical of the “Tour at all costs” approach being taken by the government and ASO. “Yes, the Tour is important, and yes, it is the only place left where I can still punch people in the face and throw them off the podium onto their teeth. But we must think of people’s health.”
Maracineanu took issue with Hinault, from a safe distance. “Monsieur Hinault is entitled to his opinion, but we have a format that will protect the health of our television revenue absolutely and the health of the riders and public, somewhat.”
Detailed plans, leaked to CitSB by a letuary at Amaury Sports Organization, show that the 2020 Tour will feature radical departures from past versions of the event. First is the new “Six Feet for Safety” rule, which will be employed throughout each race, requiring riders to maintain six feet between themselves at all times.
CitSB reached out to Patrick Lefevere, boss of team Quickstep, to find out if this were feasible.
“Absolutely not,” he said in an email. “In Europe we only use centimeters; no one will know how far these feet are. What if someone is a size 45, or dog forbid, an English size 11? It will be too confusing.”
In addition to the Six Feet for Safety ordinance, riders who saw the plans questioned how it would work in a bunch sprint. Ministress Maracineanu was adamant that “Although I am not a rider of the bicycle, we can imagine the sprinting as a fashion of gentlemanliness, where riders of bicycle can offer one another to proceed before, as when a gentleman opens a door for a lady.”
More explosive than this complete reconfiguration of pro road racing was the plan’s designation of a “cordone sanitaire” that would allow racers who have been exposed to the novel Covid-19 virus to take rest breaks at health stations along the route, deducting the time spent at aid stations from their finishing times.
Maracineanu: “This seems extremely complicated even to me, a Romanian Frenchwoman, but we must understand that in truth only the few people understand workings of the Tour anyway, like woman’s anatomy. Complex, mysterieuse, tres jolie, but also filled with pleasure and desire for all to experience. The Tour must be plunged deeply again.”
March 23, 2020 § 13 Comments
You heard it here first. The 2020 Tour de France will not be taking place as scheduled. Riders can stow their power meters, their drug bags, and their downtube motors. Time to focus on what’s really important in life, by which I mean indoor training.
Simply put, there is no way the TdF can take place this year. The plug was pulled today on the Olympics; the cancellation of the Tour was announced in a private communique from the race’s organizers to the world’s preeminent cycling news journalism bureau, Cycling in the South Bay.
This is the only time in history that the Tour has been canceled in peacetime. CitSB sat down with Tour chief Christian Prudhomme to discuss this momentous decision.
CitSB: First off, thank you for sharing this incredible scoop with us.
CP: My pleasure.
CitSB: Can you explain why you chose to share it with CitSB instead of, say, L’Equipe, Le Mond, or even the NYT.
CP: We were looking for a publication that was respected, that had impeccable credentials, and that was at the pinnacle of cycling journalism. Naturally that left us with only one choice.
CitSB: Wow. Thank you. So with regard to the cancellation. Was it a tough decision?
CP: We had to choose public health over profits. That’s the very antithesis of professional sport.
CitSB: I see. What was the tipping point? The cancellation of Flanders, MSR, and Roubaix?
CP: No. We were swayed by reports from domestic wine producers.
CitSB: I don’t understand.
CP: During our current lockdown, people have begun hoarding wine. Wholesalers and retailers have assured us that by July there will be only limited quantities of alcohol available in France, with preferential supplies going to governmental employees.
CP: We cannot have the world’s biggest and longest outdoor drunkathon on public streets without alcohol.
CitSB: Were there any other considerations?
CP: Of course.
CitSB: Such as?
CP: We did not want to appear that we were celebrating during a time of crisis.
CitSB: That’s impressive. The Covid-19 pandemic has cost so many lives and disrupted so many others.
CP: Well yes, but I was referring to the caviar shortage that has so greatly impacted us all.
CP: Well, not you, of course. I don’t mean the little people.
CitSB: Of course not. Some people, notably Patrick Lefevere, have said that without the Tour the entire business model of pro cycling will collapse.
CP: (Sighs) That is true.
CitSB: Does that concern you?
CP: Not so much. The cyclists are little people, too. They will find other work. McDonald’s will never go bankrupt, even in France.
CitSB: But without a functioning pro peloton, how will the Tour come back?
CP: We have made plans for that already.
CitSB: Can you share them?
CP: Of course. We are planning to invite masters racers in 2021.