Tour de France rescheduled for the end of August

The Tour de France will take place at the end of August as two of France’s most popular and prestigious sports events move to late summer and early autumn because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Tour organizers announced that the annual race, the biggest in cycling, will be held Aug. 29-Sept. 20, roughly a month later than originally scheduled. Last month, French tennis officials moved the two-week French Open from late May and early June to Sept. 20-Oct. 4.

Both the Tour and tennis’s clay-court Grand Slam tournament are beacons of optimism surrounding something of a return to normal. “We hope that the 2020 edition will help to turn the page on the difficult days that we are currently experiencing around the world,” Tour organizers said.

France is in a lockdown until May 11, with schools progressively reopening after that. However, restaurants, cafes, theaters and other small businesses will remain closed and there are expected to be no summer festivals before mid-July.

“The news many of us have been waiting for,” Chris Froome, the four-time champion, tweeted. “Some light at the end of the tunnel — assuming all goes well.”

The Tour has not been canceled since 1946, in the aftermath of World War II. It also was not held during World War I. The route will remain the same, beginning in Nice and ending in Paris after looping through the mountains. In addition to fans who throng roads, an enormous number of police and other officials are needed along the route.

“Holding this event in the best conditions possible is judged essential given its central place in cycling’s economy and its exposure, in particular for the teams that benefit on this occasion from unparalleled visibility,” the Union Cycliste Internationale, the sport’s governing body, said in a statement. Its calendar calls for the world championships to follow the Tour, with the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta after that.




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