‘The Tour de France is not being called into question’: Cycling’s biggest race is STILL set to go ahead, says France’s sports minister… even as they call off all events until September
- A ban on all mass sporting events in France put the Tour de France under threat
- French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu insisted the race could still happen
- The football season is cancelled but the Tour could be altered to reduce crowds
The Tour de France has not been cancelled or called into question despite the French prime minister bringing an end to the football season on Tuesday.
French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu looked to clarify the situation around the biggest race in cycling, which has already been rearranged to commence on August 29.
‘The Tour de France is not called being called into question. There will be no large-scale events before September, but the Tour starting on August 29 could have some modifications,’ Maracineanu said.
The Tour de France, which is set to get underway on August 29, is still set to go ahead
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said there will be no mass sporting events until September
Doubts had resurfaced over the likelihood the event could go ahead on its revised date following an announcement from government over large-scale events.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe declared a ban on major sporting events until September, ending the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football seasons, as well as appearing to cast doubt on the famous Tour de France.
Earlier this month, cycling’s main race was postponed from June 27 to August 29 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tour involves around 4,500 people – including cyclists, staff and security – and up to 12 million fans line the famous route.
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It is becoming increasingly apparent that the race, in its typical form, could fall foul of Philippe’s government guidelines but plans are being analysed to see if there is a need to alter the race to ensure it is not cancelled like the football season.
Tour de France organisers have yet to respond to the news delivered by the Prime Minister but they now face the prospect of reducing crowd numbers to ensure the event still goes ahead at the end of August.
One option to reduce the size of the event is to push the grand depart in Nice back until September 1 – with the Prime Minister citing that month as the earliest opportunity to re-introduce mass events.
Race organisers, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), could then eliminate several stages that follow in the race to reduce the size of the event. ASO have been contacted by MailOnline for comment.
France has had more than 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 23,660 deaths at the time of writing, making it the third-highest affected country in Europe behind Italy and Spain.