“We will have to enjoy the race flavour rather than point out the disadvantages”

Although he remains cautious regarding the new race calendar published not long ago by the UCI, which can obviously still be updated depending on the health situation, Marc Madiot nevertheless greedily looks to the end of an atypical season, but also a very dense one, during which he intends to present his Groupama-FDJ cycling team on all fronts.

Marc, should the riders perform well as soon as August 1?

In any case, they will have to be ready to compete and to do races one after the other, because there will be no catch-up sessions, as that the season will be short and tight. It will be necessary to be as ready as possible to tackle the end of the season in good conditions. They may not be 100% from August 1, but they will have to be ready overall.

“We are not going to be picky”

Classics like Strade Bianche and Milan-Sanremo are scheduled for early August and will be contested without a real preparation. Is this a big issue?

No, it won’t be an issue since it will be the same for everyone! Moreover, there will surely be one or two races before. We’ll see, but it will certainly make the race different. The preparation will be a bit postponed, to say the least, but we’ll have to make do. We are not going to be picky. The race calendar will be what it will be. It is not ideal in any case, but the most important is that the races can take place and that we, Groupama-FDJ cycling team, can participate in as many of them as possible. That’s all.

Should we expect a Tour de France with less fervour in September?

It will necessarily be different. The crowd of the “July” Tour de France will obviously be somewhat reduced. We may have more of a crowd of experts than holidaymakers, but again, the important thing is that the race takes place and that it goes well, in good conditions. The main thing in this whole period is that we can race and that we can find events as close as possible to what we’re used to know. I think everyone will be happy to see a race again, just as we will be happy to watch a football match again. If there are a little fewer people than usual, it will not be a big deal. Anyway, I think that people who will not be on the side of the road will be in front of their television for the stages finishes. This will make up for that.

Would a Tour de France without a new French champion be a pity?

If that were the case, we would make do with it too, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world either. The most important thing is that we can put a bib on from August 1st. Then, the conditions under which we’ll put it on might not be always excellent, but we’ll deal with it and adjust to the situation, whether it is for the Tour or for the other races.

The Classics’ campaign in the other way around, what does it change?

This has no repercussion, as it does not affect the same group of riders. As far as I’m concerned, I’m mostly curious to see what it can be like to do the Classics after a Grand Tour, since we will have done the Tour by then. That intrigues me. Then, we will greedily look at all this since we will have been deprived of it for a very long time. We will surely have a hunger for races and we’ll have to enjoy of all these moments. It is not possible that everything will be perfect. There will inevitably be some hitches in terms of organization, calendar, with slightly less good events in terms of participation, with races not unfolding just quite the same as in the past … But all that is not a big deal. You have to see the bright side of things: life starts up again, races start up again, we haven’t given up and we’re back in the races. This is how I will personally try to live the moment. Throughout this period, I think that we will have to enjoy the race flavour rather than point out the disadvantages that we may encounter at some points.

“We’ll have our own Boxing Day”

On October 25, Paris-Roubaix, the Giro and the Vuelta will take place. Can this lead to logistical issues?

We have not looked deeply into that yet, but of course we will have to be operational. Above all, it will be a “Super Sunday” of cycling. Imagine the cycling fan! He’ll almost need to have three screens at home … although there will likely be some scheduling to make sure we can see as much of them as possible. I even think that there can be a special communication on a day like this. It’s like England’s football games at Christmas: we’ll have our own Boxing Day! For logistics, we will sort it out. Even if the logistics were not to be exactly the same as usual, it would not be a disaster. Anyway, I want to live this day, it will be quite historical.

Can racing the Giro and the Vuelta in autumn be a problem?

In the past, even when these races were organized at their expected dates, organizers always managed to adapt to the situations, especially weather. They will be able to do it again. Honestly, I’m not worried about this and about the routes. People in charge will be able to adjust the course if necessary. For us, these new dates inevitably kind of upset our bearings, but at the same time, it is an additional curiosity and it is not that unpleasant! In any case, it will be difficult to do the Tour and the Giro. Tour and Vuelta, why not. We will have to take a closer look at this when the entire calendar is definitively approved.

Will the team leaders participate in French races?

Yes, of course! As far as it fits into the preparation schedule, our leaders will participate in events in France, for sure. Anyway, all French teams must participate in the French calendar and all French organizers must invite French teams. We will therefore be present at the start, but we will not forget our foreign friends. The internal watchword is very simple: we will participate in as many races as possible with the maximum number of riders. To the extent possible, we will do as many races as we can, even if the schedule will be very very busy at times.