NTT Tour de France 2020 wrap
The final stage of the 2020 Tour de France saw the traditional finish on the Champs-Élysées end with fireworks as Sam Bennett (DQT) claimed victory on the famous cobbled finale. NTT Pro Cycling’s Max Walscheid was 10th concluding his debut Tour de France.
Earlier on in the day, Team UAE celebrated their success taking in the gathered crowds along the run in to Paris, as Tadej Pogacar’s claimed overall victory in an enthralling edition of the Tour.
For NTT Pro Cycling it was an eventful race, as we finished twice on the podium and scored numerous top-10 finishes but also suffered from injuries in the early stages. Sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo had a mishap on the opening stage finishing in the minor places when he looked destined to challenge for the victory and followed it up with a third place on stage three in Sisteron. While climber Domenico Pozzovivo was cruelly taken out in a crash on the opening stage, after striking a fan, and amazed us all with his resilience to fight through to the first rest day before eventually being forced to abandon the race, and hopes of a strong showing on the general classification.
Michael Gogl, along with the rest of the rest of the team showed his incredible grit through the mountains to fight for spots in the breakaway in a race of high quality, but the Austrian eventually ran out of steam in the days just prior to the finish.
For debutants Ryan Gibbons and Max Walscheid, the German at over 90kg & nearly 2m tall, it was a race to remember while for veterans Edvald Boasson Hagen and Roman Kreuziger, both racing the event for a 10th time, and Denmark's Michael Valgren, on his sixth appearance, the 2020 edition of the Tour de France will live long in the memory and their focus will now shift to the rest of the season still to come.
Some comments from team members and management:
At the finish line here, it really is a set of mixed emotions, but it’s great to be here in Paris, finally. Taking into consideration my crash on stage one it wasn’t looking too good, but I’ve managed to fight my way through. It’s been a tough three weeks both mentally and physically, but I’ve made it in one piece and now I look forward to coming back.
It was surreal riding up and down the Champs Elysees – every pro cyclist’s dream and hopefully one day I can have a sprint here but to be here is truly, truly special.
Overall, it’s been a tough three weeks for us and overall, nothing like what we expected. We had our minds set on more, but we were unlucky right from the start with crashes and losing Pozzovivo before the first rest day, far too early. I think with him in normal conditions and being okay, in good shape, for him the plan was just to follow and perhaps find himself in the top 10 or top 15, with a little luck that would definitely have been possible, I think.
Losing Giacomo Nizzolo, who was our best opportunity to win something here, that early in the first week was just sad, it shouldn’t happen and that hurt a lot I have to say. Unfortunately, the rest of the guys overall just didn't didn’t have the power (to consistently challenge for stage wins). We really tried to do so but then also just didn’t have the luck and the legs to do what we wanted.
I always try to be optimistic and I believe that the Tour group need some rest now as we have other important races coming up, some very important races, in the next month and a half. We need stay focused on that and I know they will, that’s what we expect. There’s a lot of races in the Classics coming and with the Giro starting in two weeks I think that we will have a decent Giro team with Pozzovivo again being ready, and with Louis there I expect that we can score some decent results there. We need to keep the motivation up and the spirit and keep looking forward to the opportunities ahead.
The 2020 Tour de France is done and dusted, and what a race it was. NTT Pro Cycling came in with high hopes of winning stages and we had a great team of riders including the South African champion Ryan Gibbons riding his first Tour de France, as well as the tallest and heaviest rider in the race Max Walscheid. Two novices of the Tour, young riders that we hoped would carry us through and make it all the way to Paris, which they did. It was amazing that the Tour made it through to Paris considering the health regulations that were in place to get through the event.
Starting in Nice we had a great start with Nizzolo in seventh, which could have potentially been first or second if he hadn’t been boxed again, and then we went third again on stage 3 with Nizzolo. On stage seven where Wout can Aert just edged out Edvald Boasson Hagen that was ultimately the closest we would get to a stage win and how close that was! And then we fought our way through the mountains doing the best we could having lost Pozzovivo and scoring a top 10 with Ryan Gibbons which was great.
Overall, though what a race it was with Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar racing an incredible Tour de France. The UAE team didn’t have the support that Jumbo Visma had but with it all coming down to a final trial, what an incredible day. It reminded me of the race in 1989 and the Fignon-Le Mond time trial when Greg Le Mond won the race by 8 seconds.
It’s been a great Tour de France featuring some great racing and it was nice to see us round it off featuring on the Champs Elysees and a top 10 for Max Walscheid in Paris.