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UCI president Lappartient open to moving Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders to the fall

According to the UCI president, Paris-Roubaix owner ASO is also open to the idea of moving the cobbled classic out of its long-standing spot in April.

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UCI president David Lappartient told Wielerflits that he is open to reformatting the season and moving both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders to the fall.

Both races form part of the spring classics, although this year the calendar was altered slightly with Amstel Gold Race moving to sit between both of the cobbles one-day races.

“Paris-Roubaix was always on the second Sunday in April,” Lappartient told the Dutch publication.

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“Last spring, however, the competition was banned by the local authorities due to the COVID-19 situation in northern France. Out of necessity, a place on the calendar for Paris-Roubaix was found in the autumn. That move to October 3 has not made the competition any less attractive.

“On the contrary, this was one of the most heroic editions of ‘the Hell of the North’ in history. I spoke about this with organizer ASO. They indicated that there would never have been any consideration before to change the Paris-Roubaix date. Now they are very different. In the future, that creates many more possibilities.

“End the season with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix? That’s something we couldn’t imagine in the past. Now I ask myself: why not? Wouldn’t that open up possibilities in the calendar when we organize these two, perhaps the two largest, monuments at the end of the year.”

While Lappartient has assured race organizers that their WorldTour status has been set for the next three years, the dates for those events could still be altered. The UCI is keen to ensure that WorldTour races no longer overlap, a feature that takes place with Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, for example.

Moving the two biggest spring classics to the autumn would represent a major shift in cycling, perhaps not seen since the Vuelta a España moved to a late summer/early autumn fixture in the 1990s.

“We used to stick to certain dates because we had been planning the calendar in this way for years. How we will implement the reform is still unclear. But all parties in cycling have indicated to us that they are open to considering changes,” the UCI president added.

“It may be that a grand tour might be postponed one or two weeks, but broadly it will remain the same. The Tour de France will be organized in July. The Giro d’Italia will continue to take place before the Tour de France, while the Vuelta a España will have its place after the Tour. We will not change the frame of the calendar regarding the grand tours. You cannot open the season with a grand tour, while at the end of October you cannot close the season with it due to the weather conditions in the high mountains.”