Tour de France set to be postponed amid coronavirus pandemic

Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas during the 2019 Tour de France

Team Ineos’ Egan Bernal won the 2019 Tour after a battle with team-mate Geraint Thomas

The Tour de France looks set to be postponed following the French government’s extension of a ban on mass gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that restrictions on public events would continue until mid-July.

Cycling’s biggest race, won by Team Ineos rider Egan Bernal last year, is due to run from 27 June to 19 July.

Race organisers ASO have been contacted for comment.

British four-time winner Chris Froome, a team-mate of Bernal, is set to race in this year’s Tour, which is due to start in Nice. Froome missed last year’s race after breaking his neck, femur, elbow, hip and ribs in a crash.

Colombian Bernal won last year’s race following a battle with Britain’s Geraint Thomas, who won the 2018 edition.

Thomas said he hoped the Tour can be rearranged for later in the summer.

“It’s the pinnacle of cycling,” he said. “It represents the sport and certainly it’s the thing that’s keeping me going at the minute.

“You’ve just got that target down the line. It’s hard when you don’t know when it’s going to be to try and stay in that positive frame of mind.

“In my head I’m just thinking the Tour is definitely going to happen. I don’t know when but hopefully it does. It would be great for everyone.”

On 10 April, cycling’s governing body furloughed staff and cut leaders’ salaries as a result of the global pandemic.

The International Cycling Union blamed the postponement of the Olympics and Paralympics, plus losing much of its annual calendar, for the move.

The Giro d’Italia has already been called off, along with the ‘monument’ one-day races: Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

As it stands, the annual Road World Championships remain scheduled to take place at the end of September in Switzerland.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/52275641

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