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Coronavirus travel ban could see Colombian pros miss Tour de France

Joe Robinson
22 May 2020

Suspension of international flights until 31st August could curb Egan Bernal's Tour defence

Team Ineos's Egan Bernal and Arkea-Samsic's Nairo Quintana are among a raft of Colombian cyclists who could potentially miss the Tour de France after the South American country grounded all flights until 31st August.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, race organiser ASO was forced to reschedule the three-week race and it is now planned to start on Saturday 29th August.

This latest announcement from Colombian authorities to suspend international air travel would technically mean those cyclists currently in the country are unable to travel back to Europe.

However, it is worth stressing that with the popularity of cycling in Colombia, the national government could allow special dispensation for the likes of Bernal to travel back to Europe.   

Colombian President Ivan Duque extended the state of emergency until 31st August with transport minister Angela María Orozco then confirming flights would be suspended as well as the borders remaining shut.

'The restriction on international air transport goes hand in hand with the health emergency, that is, now extended until 31st August. Until that date, the restoration of international flights is not expected,' said Orozco.

As well as Bernal and Quintana, these latest measures could affects the likes of Riogberto Uran, Daniel Martínez and Sergio Higuita (Education First), Fernando Gaviria and Sergio Henao (UAE-Team Emirates), Miguel Ángel López (Astana), Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) and Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-QuickStep).

The aforementioned riders are part of 111 registered UCI professionals currently in Colombia who were only given dispensation to resume training outside at the beginning of the month after Quintana helped to lobby government.

While certain regions were allowing their professional riders to continue training, most parts of Colombia barred outside cycling. Quintana, however, managed to convince Minister of Sport Ernesto Lucena to lift restrictions.