The Tour de France has been postponed to August 29-September 20 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Wednesday.
French president Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that no public event would take place in the country until mid-July as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected over two million people worldwide.
The Tour de France was due to be held from June 27-July 19.
The UCI added that Italy’s Giro and Spain’s Vuelta would follow the Tour in a revised calendar and the men’s road race at the world championships in Martigny, Switzerland, would go ahead as scheduled on September 27.
“The Tour de France is postponed and will take place this year from 29 August to 20 September,” the UCI said in a statement.
“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.”
Priority has been given to the grand tours and the top one-day races, the sport’s governing body said as it extended the suspension of elite racing until August 1.
“I think if you had a poll and asked everyone what race would you like to see go ahead – if it was between the Tour and something else then I would have thought the majority would go with the Tour because it brings so much money into the sport,” Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour winner, told Reuters.
“That’s why a lot of the teams are in the sport, it’s for that exposure they get during the Tour. So yes I think it’s massive.”