The cycling calendar has been decimated by the global impact of coronavirus, with racing put on hold since March as countries bring in distancing measures in an effort to stop the spread.
The Tour de France has been provisionally moved to a start date of 29 August, two months later than originally scheduled, though an announcement last week by the French government that there will be no professional sport in the country before September has cast doubt on its viability, with a number of high-profile figures from the sport speaking out against the prospect of holding the Tour without spectators.
Now an unofficial plan, leaked to the Spanish newspaper AS, has set out a likely race schedule for getting this season's events completed once the global restrictions on movement begin to ease.
With uncertainty still surrounding plans for lifting restrictions, and with national governments responding uniquely to the changing circumstances in their own countries, the schedule as mapped out can be little more than provisional, with no consensus existing either within countries or across borders on a roadmap to return to normal life.
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Should, however, the leaked plan go ahead as AS suggests is probable, racing would start with Strade Bianche on 1 August, and the Tour de France’s postponed start in Nice on 29 August remains in place.
One striking quirk of the draft plan is in the overlapping of the Giro d’Italia, running from October 3 through to October 25, with the Vuelta a España, already reduced in length to 18 stages, which is according to the leak, due to start on October 20.
The final plan is due to be published by the UCI on Tuesday morning, although it is not expected to settle the matter of holding events without spectators, with the fate of the Tour de France still a particular sticking point in that regard.
"The Tour de France has not been called into question," said French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu on Thursday, the same day as the government announced on-going restrictions to the holding of sporting events.
"There will not be any large gatherings before September but with the Tour starting on 29 August, there could be adjustments. It is up to [organisers] ASO to make some suggestions."
Chris Froome, a four-time champion of the Tour, said last week he felt holding the race without spectators would be a worthwhile sacrifice, but was unsure about how authorities could ensure that crowds didn't gather in defiance of the rules.
“You’re not going to get the same scenes as you would get going through these tunnels of just people everywhere and all the rest of it," he said. "Maybe that’s the version of race we need to see this year. I don’t know.
“In theory, we can put the race on but I think the bigger question is would the organisers be able to keep people from actually coming out and gathering in large crowds? I think that’s the bigger question.”