Covid-19 delays Tour de France until August 29

Colombia's Egan Bernal won last year's Tour de France
Colombia's Egan Bernal won last year's Tour de France Anne-Christine POUJOULAT AFP/File

The Tour de France, cycling's biggest race, has been postponed to Aug 29-Sept 20 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Wednesday.


The Tour was originally slated to start from Nice on June 27 and finish in Paris on July 19,  but has been forced to reschedule with large public gatherings banned until mid-July under France's coronavirus lockdown.

The UCI added that Italy's Giro and Spain's Vuelta would follow the Tour in a revised calendar and the men's road race at the world championships in Martigny, Switzerland, would go ahead as scheduled on Sept 27.

Tour general director Christian Prudhomme has said riders will need two months after the lockdown ends to prepare for the race.

The race’s route is over 3,000km long, with roughly 500,000 fans lining the roads each day. Suggestions the Tour could be held without the supporters had been ruled out.

“The Tour de France is 3000km of smiles,” Prudhomme said regarding roadside gatherings. “We won’t run a Tour de France without the fans.”

There are only 176 riders on a Tour, but the whole event involves around 4,500 people, with team staff, police and media all moving every day.

The “Grande Boucle”, as the Tour is known in France, is the central economic pillar which supports the sports’ 22 professional teams.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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