PARIS (REUTERS) – Tour de France organizers are focusing on postponing this year’s race rather than canceling due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an email seen by Reuters on Saturday April 11 which was sent to publishers from the official excursion program.
The main editor of the Tour said in the email that he was “freezing the administrative aspects of our collaboration” before the most prestigious race in the sport, scheduled to take place from June 27 to July 19.
“The unpredictable nature of the global crisis in which we are all involved means that we will have to be patient until the official announcement of ASO (Tour organizers) about the 2020 race, keeping in mind that the emphasis is currently being put on postponing until later in the summer rather than canceling, ”writes the editorial arm of the L’Equipe newspaper, which belongs to the same family as the organizers of the Tour de France.
Tour de France organizers declined to comment.
The Tokyo Olympics, the European football championship, Wimbledon tennis and the French Open and the British Golf Open are among the major sporting events this year that have been postponed or canceled.
Postponing the largest stage race in cycling would be a major challenge for organizers as some 4,500 people – runners, sponsors, organizers and the media – are directly involved in the three-week event.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) declared last month that the big laps (France, Italy, Spain) and the big one-day races will have priority on a revised calendar once the race resumes.
The May Giro d’Italia, as well as the classics Milan-Sanremo, Tour des Flandres, Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, have already been postponed.
Britain’s Geraint Thomas, winner of the 2018 Tour, said on Saturday that he hoped the race would continue.
“It’s a bit of a shame at the moment but there are a lot of serious things that need to take priority over this,” said Team INEOS driver for the BBC.
“It’s a shame, but I hope it can move forward. Obviously there are more important things that need to be fixed first but … this is the pinnacle of the sport, that’s what it is about. I don’t know when but I hope it goes ahead this year. “
Since its creation in 1903, the Tour de France was only canceled in the middle of the two world wars, no race having taken place between 1915-18 and 1940-46.