Cancelling Tour de France could collapse cycling model, says Lefevere
Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere says it would be "total disaster" for cycling if the Tour de France were to be cancelled over the coronavirus crisis.
The cycling calendar has already been wrecked by the Covid-19 outbreak, with a host of races cancelled or postponed as the virus has spread around the world.
Amongst those to have been called off have been the Tour de Taiwan, Paris-Nice and the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.
And the Belgian believes that if the disruption spreads to the Tour, it could spell irretrievable disaster for the sport.
“Then we are talking about a total disaster,” said Lefevere of the possibility of a cancellation.
“But it would be downright stupid not to take this into account. My maxim is to always start from a best-case and a worst-case. In the first case we race again in June, in the worst case, the season is over. I may be a pessimist, but who would have dared to predict three weeks ago that half of Europe would suddenly be under house arrest? ”
" Organizer ASO can take a beating, the teams can't. If there is no Tour de France, the whole model of cycling can collapse.""
Races have been cancelled throughout March, April, and May, with hopes that competition will resume in June looking increasingly unlikely as the governments take tougher measures to combat the spread of the virus.
"What I read worries me. Every day I am afraid that a rider or someone on the staff will call me to say that they have become ill. With Davide Bramati and Davide Ballerini, we have two people who live in Bergamo, the worst-hit city in Europe,” Lefevere wrote in his piece this weekend.
“I realize that in that big story, cycling is just a footnote, but I'm a cycling team manager, so I'm also worried. All companies that export see their turnover drop. And then savings are quickly made on marketing. It would be naive to think that the economic impact of the corona crisis does not translate to cycling.
“But the spring, the most important showcase for my team, is completely gone. At QuickStep, we have certainly built up historical credit, but Deceuninck only sponsors for the second year. We have won eighty-three races so far, so I hope they will think about that too."