The biggest cycling race on the planet is set to get underway on Saturday night after a delay caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
An unconvential race will greet riders and fans with the 107th Tour de France spanning from Nice to Paris in 2020.
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As the uncertainty of coronavirus lingers overhead, the race will hopefully cross the finish line at the Champs-Elysees in Paris on September 20 with the yellow jersey winner atop the podium.
Defending champion Egan Bernal will look to add a second crown to his trophy cabinet with SBS’ Michael Tomalaris believing the Colombian youngster is on the path to joining the greatest to ever do it.
“Egan is young enough and he’s learnt a lot in the last 12 months following on from his incredible victory,” Tomalaris said to news.com.au.
“23-years of age he was one of the youngest to win the Tour in its history, he was the first Colombian last year.
“I think we’re going to see the start of a new era, we have seen the start of a new era, he’s young enough, clever enough, powerful enough to win five Tours and that’s the record if you don’t count Lance Armstrong.”
Here’s everything you need to know heading into the 2020 Tour de France.
WHEN DOES THE RACE START
The 2020 version of the Tour de France will officially get underway tonight, September 29, with the opening stage a 156km journey to get the riders warmed up.
HOW TO WATCH THE STAGES
Every single stage of the 2020 Tour will be shown live on SBS with the stages getting underway in the late evening and going through to the early hours of the morning.
For those not looking to join the avid cycling group, known online as the Couch Peloton, the SBS will have a daily update show every morning from 7am along with stage highlights being aired of the previous day’s action every evening.
FAVOURITES AND ONES TO WATCH
All eyes will be on Bernal as he looks to make it two in a row, but he’ll enter the race not as the favourite with bookmakers.
Instead Slovenian star Primoz Roglic will enter as the yellow jersey favourite despite suffering a heavy fall in the lead up to the Tour.
The 30-year-old continues to get better and better every year and will throw down the gauntlet to Bernal’s hopes.
“I think it’s Egan Bernal first and then you could throw a blanket over the next 5 to 10,” Tomalaris said.
COVID-19 IMPACT ON THE RACE
The magic number for the Tour to call things off is two. Two positive tests and the Tour de France will take action, according to Tomalaris.
“The Tour this year is really living on a knife edge, I’m told that the organisation will only tolerate two positive tests,” he said.
“If there are two positive tests from any one team then that team will be forced to leave the race.”
Despite the threat of the race being shut down due to positive tests, the Tour have a way to ensure the opening week will be done.
“They conducted two tests this week and I’m told there won’t be another test until at least the second weekend,” Tolamaris said.
“So that means no positive results, which means we’ll have at least one week of racing.”
AUSSIES IN THE RUNNING
Only two Aussies will be in the saddle when the race gets underway with Caleb Ewan and Richie Porte the only ones flying the flag for those Down Under.
“For the first time since 2001 it’s the smallest number of Australian’s starting the Tour,” Tomalaris said.
“it’s a little bit disappointing that we’ve only got two because we’ve been building a tradition of Australians starting the Tour over the past 30 years.”
TdF 2020 STAGES, DATES & START TIMES (AEST)
Stage 1 — Saturday 29 August — 9.00pm
Stage 2 — Sunday 30 August — 8.30pm
Stage 3 — Monday 31 August — 9.30pm
Stage 4 — Tuesday 1 September — 9.30pm SBS Viceland
Stage 5 — Wednesday 2 September — 9.30pm
Stage 6 — Thursday 3 September — 9.30pm
Stage 7 — Friday 4 September — 9.30pm
Stage 8 — Saturday 5 September — 9.00pm
Stage 9 — Sunday 6 September — 8.30pm
REST DAY Monday 7 September
Stage 10 — Tuesday 8 September — 9.30pm SBS Viceland
Stage 11 — Wednesday 9 September — 9.30pm
Stage 12 — Thursday 10 September — 9.30pm
Stage 13 — Friday 11 September — 9.30pm
Stage 14 — Saturday 12 September — 8.30pm
Stage 15 — Sunday 13 September — 8.30pm
REST DAY Monday 14 September
Stage 16 — Tuesday 15 September — 9.30pm SBS Viceland
Stage 17 — Wednesday 16 September — 9.30pm
Stage 18 — Thursday 17 September — 9.30pm
Stage 19 — Friday 18 September — 9.30pm
Stage 20 — Saturday 19 September — 8.30pm
Stage 21 — Sunday 20 September — 11.30pm