This may not be the actual conditions and the extent of the most prestigious event of the cycling world, but the second place for Pier-André Côté at a stage of the Tour de France virtual packs, the rider in addition to leading his team to Rally Cycling that he has priorities in the right place.
In the context of pandemic, the cyclists are invited, during this virtual proof, to roll to the inside, at home, in conditions that mimic as best as possible the different stages of the route of the great loop.
For the local residents of 23 years, based in Saint-Henri-de-Lévis, the fact of having been outstripped only by South african Ryan Gibbons and have been wearing riders such as Mathieu Van der Poel and Greg Van Avermaet worth his weight in gold.
“We have not yet been able to see guys running in the winter virtually and see how there is a correlation with their performance in the summer.
Pier-André Côté in the race two years ago.
“It is a completely different format and it’s hard to say what it’s worth. It is a bit like comparing an acoustic guitar to the electric guitar. It is the same sport, but it is much more for runners of type puncher, who are able to cash out. It’s still the Tour de France, there were twenty teams, WorldTour, and the best are there. There are other guys better than us who have tried to win, and it remains that they were beaten. It is never bad to look good”, he rejoiced.
A victory in the crosshairs
For Side, which is in its second season with a Rally and whose contract expires next winter, every good performance, even a virtual one, is encouraging for the future.
“With all the uncertainty that we are living, it is certain that I had covered those races. When you’re not sure live real racing on the outside, it is difficult to set goals. What has been experienced, at least, it was the concrete, such as our carrot on the stick.
“The media coverage of the event in Europe is important and the team had put a lot of resources on it. The objective was to make the top 5 and as I have made a podium, I think it is realistic to aim for a stage victory. The team sees that I’m committed and that I do have my duties to perform”, he noted about the virtual Tour, which continues during the next two weekends.
In the face of uncertainty
For the recovery to the outside, the horizon remains nebulous.
“We had a plan that looked solid a few weeks ago with invitations on beautiful races, but the Americans have been blocked from entering Europe for an indefinite period of time and as they form the majority of our staff, we are waiting,” said Hand, who hope to be able to resume as planned in August, in Spain or Portugal.
“The situation is still good in Rally. The timing is never good to live a season like this, but it is less indisposant that if I was in my last year at junior or U23.
“The feedback we have is that the financial situation of the team is solid, with big sponsors involved. We have the certainty of being paid until the end of December and in the current context, other riders may not say as much.”
Side hope to put the cap on Europe at the end of July, who had returned to the family home in march.