The organizers of the Tour de France finally succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic yesterday, officially announcing that the world’s most famous cycling race will be added to the list of sporting events postponed. The event will now take place from 29th August through 20th September, with no changes to the course.
The Tour was scheduled to start on June 27 in the Riviera city of Nice. However, when French President Emmanuel Macron announced in his speech to the country on Monday that all public events with large crowds will have to be canceled until at least mid-July, the writing was on the wall.
“Given that it’s now impossible that the Tour starts at its planned date, we are consulting with the (International Cycling Union) to try and find new dates,” ASO had said earlier Tuesday.
The last time the Tour was not held was in 1946, with the country still reeling from WWII. It was also stopped during the First World War.
The Tour de France is an annual men’s multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. Like the other Grand Tours (the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España), it consists of 21 day-long stages over the course of 23 days. It has been described as “the world’s most prestigious and most difficult bicycle race”.
The race was first organized in 1903 to increase sales for the newspaper L’Auto and is currently run by the Amaury Sport Organisation. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1903 except when it was stopped for the two World Wars.