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Paris-Roubaix set to fall during ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people

Joseph Delves
9 Mar 2020

Queen of the Classics likely to face crowd restrictions - if not worse

The French Ministry of Health has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people, with the ban set to remain in force until 15th April. How this will affect Paris-Roubaix, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday 12th April, is as yet unclear. So far the race’s organiser ASO has declined to comment.

Held elsewhere in France, ASO is also responsible for Paris-Nice. At that race, it was announced before Stage 2 that fans would be kept 100 metres away from the start line and 300 metres away from the finish in an attempt to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus.

However, as the pinnacle of the Classics season, Paris-Roubaix draws far larger crowds. Assuming the Health Ministry’s advice remains in place, this would assumedly prevent fans from gathering in the famous Roubaix Velodrome where the race finishes, or indeed along the most popular cobbled secteurs.

Announced after an emergency meeting headed by French President Emmanuel Macron, Health Minister Olivier Véran suggested the current ban might contain specific exclusions for protests, exams and public transportation. These will be decided on a case-by-case basis by prefects and ministries.

Whether an exception might be made for the race, or how the move might affect the thousands of fans watching the race at the roadside is yet to be seen.