The world of cycling was hoping that their most famous race would be allowed to take place despite the coronavirus pandemic, but a speech from a government leader on Monday ended all hopes. The 2020 Tour de France will have to be officially postponed and is now scheduled for Aug. 29 through Sept. 20.
The Tour de France was set to begin on June 27 in the city of Nice, but it will not take place as originally scheduled.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced in a speech to the nation that all public events with large crowds have been canceled through mid-July. The Tour de France is one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
It attracts a large number of visitors and fans each year, and it would fall under the public events that Macron was referring to. The country of France is under strict lockdown through May 11, and no large gatherings can be held until at least July 11.
Race organizers for the Tour de France did issue a short statement on Tuesday, simply stating that they would now be looking for new dates to host the event before announcing the new schedule on Wednesday. The International Cycling Union also played a role in trying to find a new time for the race to be conducted.
There is a chance that the Tour de France could eventually be canceled, but leaders in the cycling industry and French officials don’t want to see that take place.
The Tour de France has been run every year since 1946 after the event was resumed following the conclusion of World War II. The race was also forced to be canceled during the fighting in World War I. This is the first time that the race isn’t held during peacetime if a new date is not selected.
No Fans Idea
French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu proposed an idea to the leaders of the Tour de France that would have allowed the event to take place during it’s scheduled time. Maracineanu proposed running the event without any fans in attendance, but race organizers quickly shot that idea down.
Millions of fans flock to the many regions of France that host this iconic event, and they help create a festive atmosphere for the riders. The country of France would also be losing out on a large amount of money if fans were not able to attend.
The 2020 Tour de France is set to have 21 different stages, with the longest stage stretching over 135 miles. The Tour de France is extremely grueling for cyclists, and there is concern about the amount of time that cyclists will need to train for the race.
Many cyclists have been in isolation since the coronavirus pandemic began, and they would need close to a month to get back in shape.
Another hurdle that must be overcome is that international travel restrictions would need to be lifted. Currently, many countries around the world are not letting anyone in or out to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Finding time to host the three-week-long event wasn’t easy for cycling leaders. The most logical option would have been to move the Tour de France to late September, which would come after the conclusion of the Spanish Vuelta. But the Vuelta, which was to take place from Aug. 14-Sept. 6, has been rescheduled to an undetermined date.
The only problem is that tennis’ French Open has been pushed back to Sept. 20-Oct. 4, which will bring plenty of extra people to the country just as the Tour de France is ending.