Tour de France leader Primoz Roglic (centre) and Team Jumbo-Visma during Stage 12 of the 107th Tour de France 2020. (Photo by Team Jumbo-Visma)
By Maritza Cardenas-AIPS Young Reporter, Spain
The second week of the Tour de France has left a clearer picture of the favourites to win the competition, as well as a few surprises among the riders that are completely out of the fight for the overall victory of the 107th edition of the race.
As was announced, all the teams, riders and members of the race underwent Covid-19 tests on rest day, with the results made available the day after, before the start of the tenth stage of the competition. All riders were cleared and none of the teams had more than one case on their staff, which meant that everyone could remain in the race. The biggest surprise was the positive test of the race director, Christian Prudhomme, who was replaced by François Lemarchand.
The second week of competition in the French grand tour started with a flat stage suitable for the fast men, and it was one of the best sprinters of the moment, Irish national champion Sam Bennett, that claimed the win. This was a special moment for him as he completed his grand tour set of victories – he had already triumphed in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
The eleventh stage was very similar to the one of the day before, but here it was Australian rider Caleb Ewan who crossed the finish line first, making it two victories in this edition of the race. The next day, the peloton faced a rolling route and 22-year-old Marc Hirschi took a solo victory after escaping in the last kilometres – a deserved win considering he had been close in two earlier stages of the race.
Former Colombian national champion Daniel Martinez (EF Pro Cycling) took his maiden victory in the race on the 13th stage after a difficult day that featured a climbing finish. And after another flat stage that was won by Danish rider Soren Kragh Andersen, the peloton faced one of the most challenging stages on the 15th day of competition.
The route of the day included several climbs that consolidated the power of team Jumbo-Visma and its leader Primoz Roglic, and at the same time showed the weaknesses of other favourites like the winner of the 2019 edition of the race Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana, who lost several minutes each and have both lost the possibilities to go for the overall victory.
In the fight for the General Classification, Roglic kept the Yellow Jersey of the leader of the race for the entire week. He has not shown a lot of deficiencies so far and has one of the strongest teams supporting him. Although the young Slovenian Tadej Pogacar has shown that he can defend himself in the mountains, he is missing the support of a solid roster for his overall intentions, but has managed by himself to take the second position in the overall standings.
Meanwhile, Colombian riders Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling) and Miguel Ángel Lopez (Astana) have climbed to the third and fourth positions but are more than a minute behind the Slovenian national champion which means that they would have to take more risks to gain time.
A new rest day before the last challenges for the riders means new Covid-19 tests. With the situation of the virus worsening in France, the organisations and the local governments have been forced to take new measures like the complete restriction of public on certain parts of the route, particularly on the heavy climbs.
The last week of the Tour de France will include three more mountain stages that will show how the shape of the candidates will develop into the third week. There will also be an individual time trial on the Saturday before the closing stage, which will test the legs of everybody as it takes place on a climbing terrain.
The conditions of the race still give space to some surprises that could shake the entire situation, but that will surely bring a whole new champion of the French race in an unusual moment for the world.