(Reuters) – There is no guarantee that the Tour de France will take place this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said on Tuesday.
The Tour, the biggest cycling event of the year, was rescheduled from August 29 to September 20. With crowd-drawing events banned in France until the end of August, special arrangements may have to be made for the start of the Tour in Nice, the sports ministry said last month.
“Many people are begging me to keep the Tour even behind closed doors,” Maracineanu told France Television.
“I hope it will happen, but I’m not sure. We don’t know what the epidemic will look like after the lockdown. “
The foreclosure of France, in place since March 17, will be partially lifted Monday, although the seasons of several sports championships, including Ligue 1 football and Top 14 rugby, have already been abandoned.
Maracineanu added that the Tour and the rescheduled French tennis tournament, scheduled to start on September 20, could take place behind closed doors if the ban on popular events is extended.
“Like the Tour de France, the Open de France is the epitome of professional sport for fans. The stadiums of Roland Garros have many seats to fill, making it play behind closed doors would be the worst solution but we would do it if the survival of these sports was at stake, “she said.
Report by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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