He already has his head in Nice, from where the Tour de France 2020 starts today. But it is from Paris that Alexandre Pasteur, with his comrades Marion Rousse, Laurent Jalabert and Franck Ferrand, will comment on the 21 stages of an extraordinary Tour.
Has France Télévisions reviewed its system because of the Covid-19?
ALEXANDRE PASTEUR. No, we will be in a classic configuration. Like last year, we will broadcast the stages in full, from the first to the last kilometer, then “Vélo Club”. On the air, nothing changes. But we have adapted our working conditions to respect the health rules of this Special Tour in more than one way!
Are you going to talk as much about cycling as about coronavirus?
I hope not ! Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) has set up filtered areas in the passes, at the arrivals, etc. We will do a little prevention on the air if necessary, because no one will be able to prevent people from going out on their doorsteps to watch the Tour, the only sporting event to meet people.
After empty football stadiums, will viewers discover deserted peaks?
There will not be the frenzy of the great years, of course, because the foreign fans will probably not come. But, you will see, there will still be people in the villages crossed, in the passes, on the finish lines … The public is part of the scenery of the Tour, but there are 40,000 people instead of 100 000 usually won’t change anything for viewers.
Even if the weather is bad?
Rest assured, it never snows in September, even at an altitude of 2,000 m! In recent years, the weather has been very nice in the off-season, whereas we have already seen rainy Tours in July. What if there is wind? Well, there will be more show!
Do you think that this Tour in the middle of September will appeal to the French who are in the mood for the start of the school year?
I am convinced that the audiences will be very high. It is enough to see the enthusiasm aroused by the final of the Champions League. For six months, the French were weaned from sport in general and cycling in particular. There is a huge expectation on this Tour. The French will be even happier this year to travel through their television. And if Thibaut Pinot, Julian Alaphilippe or Romain Bardet are there, like last year, it will be crazy.
Do you believe in the chances of the French?
The Critérium du Dauphiné, which took place in mid-August, gives us hope. Despite the falls and the abandonments, the French have existed. The Blues are important to us, but whoever riders are in the lead, the Tour will work because it is an event that resists everything.
Did you miss the Tour?
Since the announcement of the postponement, I have only been waiting for this. And when the races resumed, I didn’t realize how much I had missed the bike. I was in apnea in front of the anthology race of Alaphilippe in Milan-San Remo. How good is live sport! And the bike is great. It makes me want this Tour to start all the more. There are a lot of expectations and they will be met. Even if we stay in Paris, it’s going to be a very good Tour, sportingly.
Does it make any difference to comment on it from Paris?
Usually, we comment on the stages from the city of arrival on a video feed, so technically that doesn’t change anything. On the other hand, we cannot recognize the route. Usually every morning we do the last 80 kilometers of the stage. Riding on the road that the runners will take remains very informative. This allows you to feel the relief, the wind, the road, etc. From Paris, we will not be in contact with the public, the people who make the Tour.
Are you frustrated?
Very frustrated, yes, it degrades the quality of my comment and I regret it. We understand the situation, we adapt. But I hope it will remain exceptional in an extraordinary year. And that the 2020 Tour will be unique.
France Télévisions and Eurosport will broadcast all the stages of this Tour 2020, live “from the first to the last kilometer”, followed by a magazine, “Vélo Club”, by Laurent Luyat, until 6:40 pm on France 2 or “the Kings of the pedal ”, by Guillaume di Grazia, on Eurosport. But everything will be commented from Paris and not from the arrival city as usual. An instruction from ASO to the media.
“At the organizer’s request, we have adapted our system to respect barrier gestures. On the road to this very special Tour, we will have 30% less staff, ”explains Laurent-Eric Le Lay, the head of sports for the public group. “It’s a handicap, we don’t hide it, but our goal is to do everything so that viewers do not notice anything. “
A particularly difficult constraint for France Télévisions, which captures the images of the race for TVs around the world with five motorcycles and two helicopters equipped with cameras, another helicopter and two planes to relay the images live and dozens of fixed cameras on the last kilometers. All of this will be well deployed.
“Usually we have 150 people on site every day. This year, they will be only 100. Those who do not work on international capture remain in Paris, ”continues Laurent-Eric Le Lay. In Paris, the commentators (Alexandre Pasteur, Laurent Jalabert, Marion Rousse and Franck Ferrand) will be able to rely on two motorcycles in the peloton (Thierry Adam and Thomas Voeckler), one reporter at the start, another at the finish. Ditto for Eurosport.
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