2020 Tour de France Postponed Because of Coronavirus Concerns; Set for August 29

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

A picture taken on July 3, 2019 shows the logo of the Tour de France in Brussels centre, three days prior to the start of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race. - On Saturday, July 6, the 106th edition of the Tour de France will start with a 194.5km stage in the region of Brussels, 100 years after the introduction of the yellow jersey and 50 years after Belgian legend Eddy Merckx won his first Tour. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)
JEFF PACHOUD/Getty Images

The 2020 Tour de France, which was scheduled to begin June 27, has been postponed until August 29 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jerome Pugmire of the Associated Press reported race organizers made the decision Tuesday after French president Emmanuel Macron announced the country's ban on large gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19 would continue through at least mid-July.

On Wednesday, August 29 was chosen as the start date for this year's race, per BBC Sport.

"Holding this event in the best conditions possible is judged essential given its central place in cycling's economy," the UCI, cycling's governing body, said in a statement.

Prior to the announcement of a new date, Pugmire reported that organizers are unlikely to favor any plan that includes banning fans from attendance, per Pugmire. In addition, creating a timeline to give cyclists a chance to prepare and waiting for borders to reopen are among the potential hurdles.

The fall sports calendar is already starting to get crowded as major events get moved with hope enough progress is made in the COVID-19 fight to avoid complete cancellations. An August 29 date helps avoid the French Open tennis tournament, which is schedule to run from Sept. 20 through Oct. 4.

"We have to reinvent ourselves, and me first of all ... We are vulnerable," Macron said Monday. "When can we hope for an end to this? I understand you have many questions and I would like to answer all of them. But I say in all humility, we don't have definitive answers today."

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Colombia's Egan Bernal is the Tour de France's reigning champion. In March, he told Ciclo21 (via Tim Bonville-Ginn of Cycling Weekly) he wasn't training "neither mentally nor physically" while confined because of the coronavirus.

"This lockdown affects us all, even for the Tour if it is done in July, because some favorites may fail, the preparation is different," Bernal said. "It is better that it could have been postponed."

The Tour de France hasn't been cancelled since 1940-46, a seven-year hiatus because of World War II.

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