Cycling

Tour de France could happen behind closed doors, says French Sports Minister

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Tour de France winners

Image credit: Eurosport

ByTom Bennett
26/03/2020 at 09:04 | Updated 26/03/2020 at 11:31
@tommbennett

The Tour de France could still take place in July, according to the French Sports Minster.

The vast majority of summer sporting events have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Euro 2020 and the Olympic Games both pushed back to the summer of 2021.

However, no decision has currently been made on rearranging the Tour de France, which is due to begin in Nice on June 27 and run through to July 19.

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All French cycling races are currently banned due to pandemic restrictions, but French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu says there is still a chance that the Tour could progress without fans on the roadside.

A decision on the race is not expected for some time, with Maracineanu telling France Bleu:

Scenarios are under study [and] discussions are underway ... but it is still too early to decide. There is a time for everything. Right now, we have a more urgent battle to fight. Let us dedicate all our strength to this mountain before considering the next.

The logic given for holding the event behind closed doors is to entertain the general population in lockdown with an event whose financial stability does not depend on ticketing sales but TV rights.

"The economic model of the Tour de France is not based on ticketing but on TV rights," Maracineanu said. "In this period of confinement, everyone is aware and responsible. Everyone understood the benefits of staying at home and therefore favouring the television show rather than the live show. Finally, it would not be so penalising since we could follow him [Le Tour] on television."

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