Tour de France organisers are focusing on a postponement of this year’s race rather than a cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an email seen by Reuters on Saturday which was sent to the publishers of the official Tour programme.
The Tour’s main publisher said in the email it was “freezing the administrative aspects of our collaboration” ahead of the sport’s most prestigious race which is due to run from June 27-July 19.
“The unpredictable nature of the global crisis that we are all caught up in means that we will have to be patient until there’s an official announcement of (Tour organisers) ASO about the 2020 race, bearing in mind that the current focus is on a postponement until later in the summer rather than a cancellation,” the publishing arm of L’Equipe newspaper, which is owned by the same family as the Tour de France organisers, wrote.
Tour de France organisers declined to comment.
The Tokyo Olympics, soccer’s European Championship, Wimbledon and French Open tennis, and golf’s British Open are among the major sporting events this year which have been postponed or cancelled.
Postponing cycling’s greatest stage race would be a major challenge for organisers as some 4500 people – riders, sponsors, organisers and media – are directly involved in the three-week event.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) said last month that the grands tours (France, Italy, Spain) and the major one-day races would have priority on a revised scheduled once racing resumes.
May’s Giro d’Italia, as well as the Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege classics, have already been postponed.
Briton Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour winner, said on Saturday he hoped the race would go ahead.