Coronavirus: Tour de France plan B could postpone the end of the race in August

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The Tour de France could be postponed for four weeks and thus end in mid-August, as part of a plan B to ensure the running of the race in 2020 despite the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

According to information published in a French newspaper The Parisian and the Spanish press agency Efe, The organizer of the Tour de France ASO has contacted the mayors of certain departure and arrival cities for the 2020 route in order to verify the support for the delay.

The new Plan B dates – if French medical experts, the government and the UCI decide that the race can go ahead – are due to start in Nice on Saturday 25 July and end in Paris on 16 August.

The Tour de France 2020 is currently scheduled from June 27 to July 19, but few expect the race to continue on these dates due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and strict rules in place to limit the spread of the virus.

This early date was chosen to allow runners to complete the race and travel to Tokyo for the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games are now postponed to 2021 and more time is needed for France and other nations to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 virus, a later date appears to be the best solution.

Other major sporting events across Europe have been postponed or canceled, but the Tour de France is considered vital for the survival of a number of leading professional teams who rely on the global visibility of the race. three weeks to justify their title sponsorship. It would also be considered emblematic of the recovery of France after COVID-19.

Last week, race director Christian Prudhomme excluded the idea of ​​trying to organize a Tour de France behind closed doors after local majors rejected the idea, as it would severely limit tourism and economic benefits. These same mayors would favor a postponement until later in the summer. Cities and locations pay 80,000 euros for a stage start and at least 120,000 euros for a stage finish, knowing that they benefit from tourism and crowd spending.

“It is better to host the Tour de France in August than not to host it or to host it without an audience,” said a mayor. Efe Press Agency.

“It is okay for us to delay a month if the public health situation is better by then. We can keep the logistics, “said Michel Villa de Privas, the city that will host the finish of Stage 5.

“July 1st was perfect because it allowed us to start the tourist season but this year everything will be delayed. And I don’t think the hotels will be full in August. “

All races are stopped from Paris-Nice in mid-March, all spring classics and other races being postponed or canceled. The next major races still scheduled this year are the Tour de France for men and the Trofeo Alfredo Binda rescheduled for women on June 6.

After the Tour de Suisse has been canceled, ASO will probably try to organize the Critérium du Dauphiné at the end of June in order to test its organizational capacity in a post-COVID-19 scenario and also to give riders the chance to run before start a three week Grand Tour.

ASO declined to comment on its plans for the Tour de France but has reportedly set a May 15 deadline to decide whether the Tour will run on schedule or whether it will be postponed.

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