Team Ineos head David Brailsford has acknowledged that the Tour de France delay could aid Chris Froome's attempt to win the event a record-equalling five times.
Brailsford believes that the race is still likely to happen following the postponement while others are less optimistic, but that there are health concerns to be balanced against the need to return to work across all inudstries.
The team head explained “They are at odds in the end. They aren’t aligned. At the moment the bias is to health and rightly so. However at a certain point we are all going to have to recognise that we have to dial up the economy and get that back on track and start to rebuild. I think we have to be proactive and positive and make sure we go at the fastest pace possible without being reckless and going too early and getting a second spike.
“I must say I am pretty confident we are going to have the Tour this year. It will be different but everything is different at the minute. There might be social distancing among fans, and other regulations, but we will be back racing.”
Thomas excited that Tour de France is going ahead this year
Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper, Brailsford explained that with Froome and Geraint Thomas now 34 and 33 respectively, time is running out for them to challenge for more honours. Froome is one short of the current record of five Tour de France wins, and the delay might help him in his recovery from serious shoulder injury.
“He’s not complaining [about the postponement], let’s put it that way.”
Froome is currently training in France to prepare for the challenge, which could deliver the team's eighth Tour de France, and his boss was full of admiration for his work ethic.
“The one thing about him is, cor, the guy can train,” he said. “What he’s doing in his man cave over there… it is just insane it really is. I do think he sees it as an opportunity. And it is an opportunity, let’s face it.
“If it gives him a little edge where he thinks he can train harder than the rest, and make up for lost time when he was injured - he sees that as well as everybody else and he’s making the most of it, there’s no doubt about it.”
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"I wouldn’t say this year is last-chance saloon but certainly they [Froome and Geraint Thomas] are in the twilight of their careers,” Brailsford says.
“Time doesn’t wait for anybody. So I think it’s important to them that we do get a Tour this year.”
The 56-year-old team head also disclosed some of the other work he has been doing during the lull in the cycling season. He has teamed up with team sponsor Jim Ratcliffe in order to help organise Ineos' plants in Britain, France and Germany to produce one million bottles of hand sanitiser a month.
“I never thought I would know so much about EN numbers and the regulations for testing, for chemical stability,” Brailsford told the paper.
“You would think ‘mix a product to WHO standard and off it goes to market’ but clearly not. We have had to really scramble and work with people in Government and regulations. "