PARIS: The Tour de France will probably be raced from August 29 to September 20, organisers introduced on Wednesday, suspending biking’s flagship occasion initially slated to start out on June 27 as a result of coronavirus lockdown.
The brand new dates observe French President Emmanuel Macron’s extension of a ban on massive public gatherings till mid-July.
Whereas the information comes as a reduction to skilled biking groups and followers, it additionally strikes the three-week race out of its conventional slot in the summertime holidays the place roadside crowds of round 12 million can be anticipated to assemble in festive spirit.
“Following the president’s address on Monday evening, where large-scale events were banned in France until mid-July as a part of the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the organisers of the Tour de France, in agreement with the Union CyclisteInternationale (UCI), have decided to postpone the Tour de France to Saturday 29th August to Sunday 20th September 2020,” a press release from the organisers mentioned.
It mentioned the race would observe the identical route as the unique itinertary, beginning in Good and ending in Paris.
The brand new date solves a collection of issues after organisers confronted as much as the fact that the race may by no means happen on the unique dates.
Prime biking groups will survive economically, social distancing will probably be simpler with out large crowds, and the 4,500 sturdy Tour de France rolling caravan will be extra simply put up in accommodations exterior August.
With the Tokyo Video games and soccer’s Euro 2020 each delayed by a yr, the Tour is the final main occasion remaining on the summer time sports activities calendar.
Elite biking will breathe an enormous sigh of reduction because the Tour accounts for many of its earnings.
“The Tour represents around 60 percent of earnings in a season,” French staff AG2R boss Vincent Lavenu mentioned final week.
The Tour will present a each day repair for disadvantaged sports activities addicts the world over, with hundreds of thousands of armchair followers in a position to tune in each day, together with these nonetheless working from house.
Organisers Amaury Sports activities Organisation (ASO) had stubbornly refused to cancel the occasion, and whereas the brand new date is later than anticipated, it now offers them time to stage the warm-up Criterium du Dauphine — held yearly forward of the Tour however postponed this yr because the spring biking season was swept apart by the coronavirus.
Biking’s governing physique the UCI introduced the brand new dates, saying that Might’s postponed Giro d’Italia can be raced after the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a espana after that, with daes to be annouced in Might.
Well being comes first
That eight-day jaunt via the Alps will probably appeal to large consideration, as all the highest cyclists on the planet will wish to compete.
With Might’s Giro d’Italia being cancelled and in addition the celebrated Tokyo Olympic highway race in late July on Mount Fuji, the Tour de France will probably be extra aggressive than ever as the entire spectrum of elite cyclists concentrate on the one race.
“The Tour de France is 3,000km of smiles,” race director Christian Prudhomme has repeated many occasions previously in reference to the Tour and its followers.
However he has additionally burdened that well being comes first, forward of the Tour de France, because the nation battles the coronavirus disaster.