• Egan Bernal and Team Ineos on the final stage of the 2019 Tour de France (Getty)Source: Getty
The release of revised racing schedules for the men's and women's WorldTours sparked a range of reactions from riders and directors. Here's just a few.
Cycling Central

Het Nieuwsblad, Cyclingnews, Mitchelton-Scott, Omnisport
8 May 2020 - 3:03 PM  UPDATED 8 May 2020 - 3:05 PM

"Ineos is sitting on a mountain of money..."

Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere is good for a quote at the best of times but he pulled out some gold for his interview on Sporza

The Belgian said half the teams would disappear from the peloton if there is no racing this year. 

"If we no longer race this year, I will have no team (Deceuninck-Quick Step) next year."

"Ineos is sitting on a mountain of money and the French are getting part of their wages paid back by the state. They will have less difficulties. But my team will be in trouble."

"I am not stupid. I am an accountant by training and have been in the trade for 40 years. If there is no racing anymore, many cycling teams will die."

Asked if he was concerned about overlaps in the calendar, including what's touted by Cyclingnews as cycling's Super Sunday on 25 October (Giro's final ITT, Vuelta's Stage 6 up the Col du Tourmalet, men's and women's Paris-Robuaix) he said "in the current circumstances, we should be humble and pray that we can still race this year."

"I am known as the most critical person in the cycling world. But I will not complain about the calendar."

"I think for the welfare of the riders (and staff) it's going to be a very intense period"  

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Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates conceded the creation of a schedule would've been a mammoth job but expressed concerns for the health of the entire team. 

"It's obviously very difficult to organise," the 2018 Vuelta a Espana champion said. "But I think for the welfare of the riders it's just going to be a very intense period for everybody, not just riders. I think you've got to look at the staff and the rest of the team.

"If we're running three or four races at exactly the same time on the same day it really puts a lot of stress on the whole organisation."

"Fast, crazy racing"

Yates' team mate Luke Durbridge expects the classics to be tougher than usual. 

“I feel that maybe there will be a more universal build up for the classics," he said. "Everyone will have had exposure to sun, exposure to long distances, plenty of time to prepare.

“I expect fast, crazy racing because people are going to be motivated and strong and ready. It’s probably going to be one of more challenging classics seasons you’ll see.”

Durbridge's director Matt White said the number of riders on his squad isn't a problem but staffing and logistics would be a challenge. But when it came to the riders, he said 'light on' preparation wasn't ideal. 

"It’ll be five months no racing and then you will be starting with five to seven days of competition before the Tour," White said. "It’s not much but it is what it is.”

“In a normal season there’s so many ups and downs, but now you’re probably going to see every guy trying to hit form at the same time."

“You will be able to hold form, pretty much from when the season starts to when it ends. 

“I can’t see teams ‘waiting’ for the Giro. I think that the Tour de France will be where every team puts their first focus and after that they will work filling spots around it.”

"I am shaking and aching (at) Paris-Roubaix...it's awesome!"

Mitchelton-Scott Aussie Amanda Spratt said one of the biggest challenges of the revised schedule is not currently having a full squad in Europe. 

"Half of our riders actually went back to Australia and New Zealand," the Switzerland based rider said. "So aside from the world health situation, we’re also going to have to wait to see if those riders who did go home will even be able to make it back to Europe." 

The other challenge for Spratt is the Giro Rosa and the World Championships falling so close.

“It’s unchartered territory for me, I have never had that kind of lead-in to a world championships because I’ve normally gone to altitude or had a training block.

"There’s another week before the road race, and it’s very hard and hilly so maybe if the Giro course is what it usually is, which is quite tough, then it could be good preparation.”

But she's looking forward to a bumpy ride at Paris-Roubaix. 

“I am shaking and aching just looking at Paris-Roubaix on the calendar, but I think it’s awesome.

“It’s the one race the women’s peloton has really been asking for. It’s such an iconic race and I think there’s no reason why we can’t go there and put on a really good show.  It’s a huge step forward and really pleasing that the ASO have taken on that feedback.”

"I said I will only quit when (there's a women's) Paris-Roubaix...I'm not going to quit yet"

Spratt's team mate Annemiek Van Vleuten was equally as stoked about a women's Hell of the North. 

“The most surprising news is the Paris-Roubaix for women. I always said I will only quit when they will first organise a Paris-Roubaix for women and finally they will have… but I’m not going to quit yet!”

"Our eyes shouldn't be bigger than our stomachs"

Another team boss good for a quote is EF Pro Cycling's Jonathan Vaughters and he wasn't shy in his reaction to the revised schedule.

Speaking to Cyclingnews, he said the team is definitely "chomping at the bit to race" but he is disappointed so much racing is being packed in to so short a timeframe. 

"To me and most of the teams, we’re going to be pretty happy if we do the Tour de France and two or three of the monuments," he said. 

"Everyone would be happy with that. Let's just make sure that we race this year and do some good races.

"Let's not worry about the quantity, let's worry about the quality.

"Getting the Tour de France is going to take an enormous effort and looking at the calendar, the Tour is overlapping with Tirreno. Whatever we do I want to make sure that we do it. Our eyes shouldn’t be bigger than our stomachs.”

Vaughters also said the calendar was dependent on a crisis that is still unfolding.   

“One week, one government will close this down and then the next week it will be opened, while immigration will be permitted and then won’t be permitted. I won’t see the racing calendar concrete until we’re a few days out."

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