Cycling-Favourites biding their time in tough Tour says technical director

MONT AIGOUAL, France, Sept 3- The Tour de France’s top guns have been biding their time since the Grand Depart on Saturday, making for an uneventful start to the 2020 race, but they have been excused by the race’s technical director Thierry Gouvenou. Defending champion Egan Bernal of Colombia and French darling Thibaut Pinot had already said their were keeping…

MONT AIGOUAL, France, Sept 3 (Reuters) – The Tour de France’s top guns have been biding their time since the Grand Depart on Saturday, making for an uneventful start to the 2020 race, but they have been excused by the race’s technical director Thierry Gouvenou.

On Wednesday, no breakaway was formed in the fifth stage, an almost unprecedented scenario in normal racing conditions, and the favourites held their fire again on a punishing climb during Thursday’s sixth stage.

Defending champion Egan Bernal of Colombia and French darling Thibaut Pinot had already said their were keeping their powder dry for the third week, when the race reaches the Alps.

“They’re managing their efforts. We drew an extremely hard Tour and they’re here after a long hiatus (amid the COVID-19 crisis),” Gouvenou told Reuters on Thursday.

The main contenders are unlikely to be willing to take the overall lead in order to avoid the pressure of defending the yellow jersey.

Pre-race favourite Primoz Roglic of Slovenia is the only one who went on the attack, but it was just to sprint to victory in the first mountain-top finish on Tuesday.

He could have asked his Jumbo-Visma team to hammer it down in the Col de la Luserette on Thursday but instead left the reins to Ineos Grenadiers, who were happy to take it easy.

“I don’t think that Roglic wants to burn down his team mates defending the lead,” said Gouvenou. “It makes for a very quiet race because they know what’s coming.”

The race hits the Pyrenees on Saturday with a hard eighth stage featuring the ascent of the Col de Mente, Port de Bales and Col de Peyresourde, but Gouvenu believes Roglic, Bernal and Pinot will remain subdued.

“Maybe there will be more rhythm in the Pyrenees but I think it’s going to be a bit like Orcieres-Merlette (on Tuesday),” he said.

“We’re impatient and demanding but let’s not forget the Tour is three weeks long and you can’t be at 100% for three weeks.”

The top favourites have singled out the 17th stage to the Colde la Loze as the key stage of the race, and an individual time trial finishing up the Planche des Belles Filles on the penultimate day. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)

ANA NEWS WIRE Disclaimer:
The African News Agency (ANA) is a news wire service and therefore subscribes to the highest standards of journalism as it relates to accuracy, fairness and impartiality.
ANA strives to provide accurate, well sourced and reliable information across Text, Images and Video. Where errors do appear, ANA will seek to correct these timeously and transparently.
The ANA platform also contains news and information from third party sources. ANA has sought to procure reliable content from trusted news sources but cannot be held responsible for the accuracy and opinions provided by such sources on the ANA platform or linked sites.
The content provided for on the ANA News Wire platform, both through the ANA news operation and via its third party sources, are for the sole use of authorised subscribers and partners. Unauthorised access to and usage of ANA content will be subject to legal steps. ANA reserves its rights in this regard.
ANA makes every effort to ensure that the website is up and running smoothly at all times, however ANA does not take responsibility for, and will not be held liable for times when the website is temporarily unavailable due to technical issues that are beyond our control.