“The right thing to do is cancel this year,” she said. “It is a painful decision but they have no choice. “
The Tour was this week moved from its original start date at the end of June to a new Grand Départ in Nice on August 29, following the ban on all major public events until July 11 by 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 the television partners of the Tour were delighted to learn that the race was going well – “This is very good news”, said Laurent Prud’homme, general manager of Eurosport – Sridhar urged the owners of the ASO Tour to rethink their 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 people arriving in Nice for the race from countries outside of France should be quarantined. “That (the arrival of the Tour’s international convoy) could trigger a new group of infections, so you should at least think about two to three weeks before coming to the country properly. “
Ideally, Sridhar added, while acknowledging that the logistics would be “breathtaking”, once the race started, the organization would test everyone in the convoy every day. “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 reacted positively to the new calendar, the participation of some, including defending champion Egan Bernal, currently confined to 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.
The postponed dates have also caused headaches for other promoters of smaller races, including the organizers of the Tour of Britain Sweetspot, as the postponement of the Tour de France now runs up against their own race which takes place from September 6 to 13. Another problem for the British race is a shock from the live TV coverage, as the official broadcaster ITV also shows each stage of the French race.
“The position we are in is unprecedented,” said Tour of Britain promoter 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. “