Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma prepare for battle at Tour de France
Former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) - pictured at the Volta ao Algarve 2020 - started to set up the newly planned Tour 2020 after the competition was interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic
The two teams that have the strongest lineups on paper have just over two months until the scheduled start of the postponed Tour de France 2020 - Team Ineos with the last three winners of the race in Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome and Jumbo- Visma, who will also bring three leaders with Primoz Roglic, Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk to the race, are both looking for the ideal preparation for the start of La Grande Boucle in Nice on August 29th.
In separate interviews with Team Ineos Sports Director Servais Knaven and Jumbo-Visma Sports Director Merijn Zeeman, Dutch public broadcaster NOS reports that the British WorldTour team hopes to have an altitude training camp somewhere in Spain in July While Jumbo-Visma has already done so, it secured a base in Tignes in the French Alps, which ensures that they are already in France in the event of further problems crossing international borders due to the COVID-19 virus.
Speaking to NOS.nl on Sunday, Zeeman said that the decision to rent two houses in Tignes was calculated.
"It's like we can go there by car, it's great for training and it's a place where we can be as remote as possible," he said. "We will have a lot of space and do not have to be in a hotel.
"It is a combination of athletic reasons and associated corona measures," added Zeeman. "It is up to us to be as prepared as possible for a number of circumstances."
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Up until this weekend, none of the team's three leaders had been pedaling furiously during the shortened 2020 racing season, but in 2019 Vuelta, a España winner Roglic, drove to victory in the Slovenian National Championship road race on Sunday. The year old will be in the national champion's jersey for the tour.
In Team Ineos, Thomas, Froome and Bernal drove in 2020 - on the Volta ao Algarve, the UAE Tour and Tour Colombia 2.1, while Bernal also took part in his national championships, which took place early in Colombia each year.
While Froome and Thomas are already in Europe, defending champion Bernal remains in Colombia and is expected to return to Europe in July.
"The plan is to see if we can get anywhere in Spain in July," Knaven said of a high camp for his riders. "Your favorite thing is to go to a place you've been going to for years because then you know what you're getting and you know the streets for training.
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"The last thing you want is to go to a place you've never been before," he added. Drivers like Thomas and Froome - and ahead of them the 2012 Tour de France champion, Bradley Wiggins - have preferred the Parador Hotel in the past as the top of the climb to Teide on the Spanish island of Tenerife.
According to NOS, Team Ineos drivers have been training seriously since the beginning of May.
"It was very different," Knaven said of his drivers' different abilities to train during the height of the pandemic, depending on their location. "In the UK, everyone could just keep driving, but that wasn't the case in Colombia for a while, and again in France and Spain, which were blocked for a while so that drivers weren't allowed to go outside. Of course, it had a significant impact [ on training]. "
At Jumbo-Visma, focused training has only been the order of the day since early June.
"In the previous months we were physically and mentally fit. We wanted to keep our mental energy," said Zeeman. "Since June 1st we have been working intensively on training, nutrition and tests - everything that is important to us. We are right in the middle of it."
Due to an injury, the new Jumbo Visma newcomer Dumoulin has not raced since the Critérium du Dauphiné 2019 - over a year ago - while Kruijswijk will arrive on the tour, hoping to finish third behind Bernal and Thomas last year to improve.
"I think hunger has only increased," said Zeeman. "Everyone will be nervous when they start the race again."
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