In the second week of racing the 2020 Tour de France headed west in the Charente-Maritime département before heading across France to the Alps, visiting the Jura and Massif Central in the process.
The second week of racing saw team tactics change. Teams start out with hope and as it becomes clear they cannot win the overall race, the strategy changes to trying for stage wins.
Monday was a rest day, which some riders hate because it breaks up their rhythm and others look forward to the opportunity for a much needed rest. This year it allowed time for additional testing which included testing for COVID-19. Fortunately all the COVID-19 precautions paid off with only four non-riders testing positive and being sent away to quarantine. Riders have complained about too many fans on the course, not practicing social distance and not wearing masks risking passing the infection to the riders. Roads are closed to auto traffic, but locals have been walking or biking onto the course.
Last year’s winner, Columbian Egan Bernal from team INEOS Grenadiers, slipped to 3rd place as a result of the strong performance of Solvenians Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar. This was the first time a rider from Columbia won the Tour de France and Bernal’s goal was a second win, but although he claimed his heart rate numbers have been the best ever, he still got passed.
For the past few years team INEOS Grenadiers dominated the race and moved into the final week of racing with confidence, but this year other teams like Jumbo-Visma, UAE-Team Emirates, and Movistar are out performing them. It is not unusual for a dominant team’s reign to eventually end since other teams are motivated to catch up and riders change teams. The top 7 riders are within seconds of each other and with more grueling mountain stages in the last week, anything can happen. More strong competitors make for a more interesting race.
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