21 September 2020

‘Getting to Paris was a victory’, says Tour de France race director Prudhomme after conclusion of incredible three weeks

Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has admitted it was a success just for the 2020 race to be completed as he was ‘afraid’ it would not be finished when the riders lined up at the start in Nice.

The 107th edition of the three-week stage race, which was won in dramatic fashion by 21-year-old Slovenian Tadej Pogacar on Sunday, was originally due to get underway in June, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pogacar became the second youngest ever winner of the Tour de France on Sunday (ABACA/PA Images)

When it was eventually rescheduled to begin at the end of August, race organisers made it clear that if two riders from the same team tested positive for COVID-19, the whole team would be thrown out.

And Prudhomme has now admitted that announcement ahead of the Tour did make him fearful of the race potentially being stopped before Paris.

"Every year, journalists ask me if I'm relieved at the end of the Tour, and this year, I answered, 'Yes.' Just getting to Paris was a victory, he told French station Sud Radio.

"In the hours leading up to the start of the race in Nice, we were afraid, knowing that two positive COVID-19 cases [for riders] would lead to the exclusion of a team.

"Now, I can see that that's what allowed us to get to the end: the teams tightened the screw even more. They did the job. 

"The measures that needed to be taken so that we could have a race, so that we could all work, became clear to everyone."

During the Tour, Prudhomme tested positive for COVID-19 and so was forced to self-isolate for seven days before he could return to the race for the final few stages.

In one of the most exhilarating editions of all-time, Pogacar produced a jaw-dropping performance in the individual time trial on Saturday as he overhauled a 57 second deficit to leapfrog his compatriot Primoz Roglic and win the Tour by 59 seconds.

It is just the tenth time in the race’s history that the yellow jersey has won the race by less than one minute.

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