It’s Official – The 2020 Tour de France Has Been Postponed
- Race organizer Amaury Sport Organisation announced on Tuesday that the 2020 Tour de France will be postponed. Earlier on Tuesday, French president Emmanuel Macron cancelled all large public events until mid-July.
- On Wednesday, Tour organisers announced that the 2020 race will be run from Saturday, August 29 to Sunday, September 20, and it will run the same route as originally planned.
- This is the first time since World War II that the race has not been held as scheduled.
The early season professional cycling calendar was devastated by race cancellations and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and now the sport’s best-known and arguably most important event has been delayed – the Tour de France, originally slated for June 27 through July 19, will happen from Saturday, August 29 to Sunday, September 20.
Race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) announced the news on Tuesday, saying that it had little choice in the matter after French President Emmanuel Macron cancelled all public events with crowds through mid-July.
“Over the last few weeks, there has been constant communication between riders, teams, the organisers as well as other relevant third parties all with the support of the UCI, who are responsible for arranging a new global cycling schedule, in which the Tour de France takes pride of place,” Tour organisers said in a press release.
It’s a historic moment for the cycling world and the revered Grand Tour – this is the only time the Tour de France has been cancelled during peacetime since its inception in 1903. Previously, the Tour wasn’t held during World War I and WWII.
Though it’s undoubtedly sad, the decision ultimately falls in line with the reality that the world is facing as it combats the pandemic. Race organisers delayed the postponement as long as they could (maybe too long?); by comparison, the Tokyo Olympics, which were scheduled to start the week after the Tour finished, were postponed three weeks ago.
According to the French sport minister, Roxana Maracineanu, A.S.O. first played around with the idea of staging the race without spectators. But even without the crowds of fans, holding the race without any kind of large gathering while trying to guarantee the health and safety of the cyclists and everyone else involved would have been a logistical nightmare, if not simply impossible. The peloton itself would count as a large group, not to mention the team staffs, race organisation staff, the publicity caravan, security crews, and workers needed to erect, tear down and transport the infrastructure every day.
The race organisers, along with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), have already voiced their hopes of rescheduling the many canceled races, now including the Tour, for later this season.
“The UCI has made it a priority to establish a new calendar, in particular when it comes to the Grand Tours and the Monuments, with a view to the resumption of the 2020 season,” the UCI stated in a press release last month.