Postponement of this summer’s Tour de France is looking more likely, according to a memo sent to the publishers of the official Tour race program.
Reuters reported Saturday that the Tour’s main publisher indicated to partners that the race is not likely to run as scheduled from June 27 to 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 organizers) 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,” Reuters quoted the memo.
There was no immediate word from Tour officials. Race officials have already indicated to mayors along the planned route a decision will be made by May 15.
The memo did not indicate when the Tour might be rescheduled, but it is the strongest indication that Tour officials are looking for new dates for cycling’s most important stage race. So far, officials have resisted the idea of holding the Tour “behind closed doors” without fans lining the roads.
A few alternative dates have already been floated. One idea under consideration is to start the Tour in late July, and run it during the hole vacated by the Tokyo Olympic Games, which have been postponed until 2021. Key stakeholders met late last week to try to sketch out a rough blueprint of how the season might look if racing can resume.
Europe remains in lockdown during the coronavirus crisis, but many are hopeful that some racing might be able to be scheduled before the season is a complete wash. Officials are considering extending the racing season until late November to try to reschedule as many canceled races as possible if conditions allow.
Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix is the next high profile race to be canceled after the coronavirus has put the brakes on international racing. The spring classics and the Giro d’Italia, along with a host of other races, have been canceled, some with the hope of being rescheduled.
The Tour has only been canceled during the two World Wars, with no races held from 1915-18 and 1940-46.