“The wise thing to do is to cancel this year,” said Sridhar. “It is a painful decision but they have no choice. “
The Tour was moved this week from its original start date to the end of June a new Grand Nice Departure August 29, following the prohibition of any major public event until July 11 by the French president, Emmanuel Macron.
“It’s a long-term problem, a chronic problem,” Sridhar told cyclingnews.com. “This virus is here to stay and will come back. Even if France does it in August, then of course the problem is people who come from different countries. “
Sridhar highlighted a series of potential risks, which could even lead to the Tour being stopped if there was an epidemic in the racing convoy during the race. “There is certainly a risk that the Tour de France moving and involuntarily spreading the virus could trigger a new lock. “
While television Tour partners were delighted to learn that the race would continue – “This is very good news,” said Laurent Prud’homme, CEO of Eurosport – Sridhar urged the owner of ASO Tour to rethink his plan.
“They have to weigh the risks against the benefits. Thousands of people from around the world have gathered, moving from city to city, this is where a virus could thrive – it could be a recipe for disaster, “said Sridhar.
She also suggested that those arriving in Nice for the race from countries outside France are quarantined. “This [the arrival of the Tour’s international convoy] could trigger a new group of infections, you should think, at a minimum, to a quarantine of two to three weeks before their proper entry into the country. “
Ideally, Sridhar said, while acknowledging that the logistics would be “staggering”, once the race started, the organization would test every day in the convoy. “We know that 20% to 60% of people are pre-symptomatic, in the sense that they feel good and have no symptoms, but spread the virus to others. “
While most European runners have reacted positively to the new schedule, the participation of some, including defending champion Egan Bernal, confined in Colombia is not yet acquired.
“It has not escaped my notice that the current champion is in Colombia, but Europe is at the heart of cycling and the majority of riders live in Europe,” said Tour Director Christian Prudhomme.
Deferred dates have also caused headaches for other minor race promoters, including the organizer of the Tour of Great Britain sweet spot, because the postponement of the Tour de France now faces his own race from 6 to 13 September. Another problem for the British race is a shock television coverage live, as the official broadcaster ITV also shows each stage of the French race.
“The position in which we find ourselves is unprecedented,” said sweetspot in a statement. “We closely monitor each development as it occurs and act accordingly with our partners and stakeholders across Britain to do the right thing, the health and well-being of all our supporters being of paramount importance. “