Doubts around Tour de France for Colombian pros as country extends flying ban

The national federation says it will get special authorisation for Egan Bernal, Nairo Quintana and others to travel to Europe

Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana on stage nine of the Tour de France 2019 (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images)

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The Tour de France was thrown into doubt for Colombian pros as the government extended the ban on flying until September.

Superstar riders Egan Bernal, Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Urán are among the pros who would be affected by the measures, as Colombian president Iván Duque announced that international flights would be banned until August 31.

The postponed 2020 Tour de France is scheduled to start from Nice on August 29.

But the Colombian federation is trying to get special permission for cyclists to travel to Europe for the Tour and the other races on the re-designed calendar.

President of the Colombian federation, Mauricio Vargas, told the Associated Press: “ We began contacts with the President of Colombia Iván Duque, the Minister of Transport Angela María Orozco and the Minister of Sport Ernesto Lucena so that cyclists can travel to Europe in a timely manner and intervene in races prior to the Tour de France and other important competitions.

“We will coordinate the issue of travel with the Colombian government and the teams, there will be no problem.”

The coronavirus crisis has completely upended the cycling calendar, with the UCI forced to completely reschedule most of the season to the final four months of the year.

WorldTour racing is currently set to return on August 1 with Strade Bianche, but there are still doubts around whether the pandemic will have faded enough to allow bike racing.

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) flew back to Colombia from Europe in March, after spending a number of weeks training in Monaco.

The 2019 Tour de France winner then contacted health authorities on landing back in his home country to be tested for coronavirus, eventually returning a negative result.

He was then forced to isolate in his house regardless, as he had returned home from a high-risk area of Europe.

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A total of 111 pro riders have been given permission to train out on the roads in Colombia, including Quintana and Bernal.

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