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August Tour de France put in doubt by French sports minister

Joe Robinson
23 Apr 2020

Minister states 'sport is not a priority' as French lockdown could last until September

Sporting events in France could be further postponed until mid-September putting the rescheduled Tour de France in doubt. French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu told Eurosport that she expects restrictions on public gatherings in France to be pushed beyond the mid-July date currently set by President Emmanuel Macron.

The minister said that any plausible return date for public sporting events could not take place until September at the earliest, adding that 'all events that can resume will be behind closed doors or with very strict restrictions anyway.'

Maracineanu then added that some sports could return earlier than others, notably those with limited social contact such as tennis. She, however, made no comment on the Tour.

The UCI and race organiser ASO announced last week that the Tour de France would now begin on 29th August, pushed back two months from its original 27th June start date.

However, these latest comments from the French sports minister have echoed the worry of some critics who believe the UCI and ASO have been too hasty in announcing a new date for the race. 

Maracineanu claimed that the possibility of no further sporting events in France in 2020 was 'plausible' and also stated that 'what is certain is that sport will not be a priority, it is not a priority in our society.'

France is also currently under a stricter state of lockdown than the UK. One of its rules is that individuals are not allowed to cycle for recreational purposes meaning that professional athletes have been restricted to training indoors.

The sports minister was unable to put a date on when athletes would be allowed back outside to train putting further question marks over the running of the Tour in late August.