Paris, Apr 28 (efe-epa).- The Tour de France is still set to go ahead with its delayed 29 August to 20 September schedule despite the French government banning events with more than 5,000 spectators until September.
France’s sports ministry told Efe that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s decision to rule out mass sporting events on Tuesday, including the definitive suspension of the French football league, did not mean the world’s most iconic cycling race would be cancelled.
Tour de France organizers were obliged to shift the race from July to the end of August when France first ruled out sporting events before 15 July, a measure that has since been extended.
They will have to wait to see the evolution of the Covid-19 health crisis in France, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe with over 23,000 dead before they know the exact form the race will take.
It is likely that the number of spectators lining the route of the 3,470-kilometer race will be limited to stem any further spread of the virus.
This year’s edition is due to start in Nice, and will bring the riders through the Alps, the Pyrenees, the west coast, the Massif Central before finishing, as usual, in Paris.
Another potential pothole for organizers will be whether it is possible for the international to travel to France for the race.
French riders will be relieved to be allowed to get out a practise from 11 May, the date the government has set for the lifting of the national lockdown.
Things were less optimistic in the world of MotoGP.
The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), and organizers Dorna Sports and IRTA, said in a statement that the Grand Prix in Germany, Austria and Finland had been cancelled due to the pandemic.