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Tour of Britain still plans on a September date despite Tour de France clash

Joe Robinson
24 Apr 2020

Tour of Britain organiser Sweetspot wants to be ready to run if the coronavirus situation allows the race to go ahead

The team behind the Tour of Britain is continuing to plan towards its September dates despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a recently scheduled potential clash with the Tour de France.

The UCI announced a revised race calendar last week that saw the Tour pushed back from June and July to 29th August to 20th September.

These new dates now see the French Grand Tour directly clash with the Tour of Britain, which is scheduled to take place from the 6th to 13th September.

Typically the one-week UK stage race overlaps annually with the Vuelta a Espana yet manages to attract a world-class peloton looking to prepare for the UCI World Championships, traditionally held at the end of September.

However, with the Tour being the biggest race in the professional calendar and with the current absence of any racing, it is likely that all 19 WorldTour teams will field their biggest riders in France.

This could see the Tour of Britain struggle to attract any marquee names from within the WorldTour, however race organiser Sweetspot is remaining optimistic and viewing any potential clash as a sign life is returning to normal.

'We are still working towards putting the race on in September, but are mindful that this will only be possible if the wider situation allows us to,' read a statement from Sweetspot.

'In the event that conditions allow for the Tour of Britain to take place in September, we will not be presented with a better opportunity to come together to illustrate that Britain is getting back on its feet and open for business.

'If for one year we have to share that time with the Tour de France, then hopefully it is a sign that the world is returning to happier times and we can once again be enjoying sport.'

While Sweetspot continues to plan towards its original dates in September, it is under no illusion that circumstances may dictate a postponement or cancellation for 2020.

Critics have suggested that the UCI and ASO's decision to announce new dates for the Tour de France are premature and not respectful of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike some of its fellow race organisers who seemed slow to react, Sweetspot made it clear it will not prioritise the race over the safety of the riders, staff and fans and would act in cancelling the race if it deemed necessary to do so, regardless of what races in others countries are doing.

'We must stress that the position we find ourselves in is unprecedented and constantly changing and we are closely monitoring each development as it happens and acting accordingly with our partners and stakeholders across Britain to do the right thing with the health and wellbeing of all of our supporters being of paramount importance, so the new dates for the Tour de France don’t affect our plans,' the statement continued.

'With the continuing support of our local authority and government stakeholders, British Cycling, sponsors and the media, we are continuing our work and the planning required every year for the Tour of Britain to take place successfully should conditions allow.'