New dates for Tokyo Olympics clash with 2021 Tour de France

There were just a few days between the 2020 Tour and the Olympics, but now things look even tighter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The new dates for the Tokyo Olympics have been announced, as the Games will now overlap with the 2021 Tour de France.

Earlier this month the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that the 2020 Olympics would be postponed by a year because of the coronavirus outbreak, with Japan now set to host from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

With the 2021 Tour de France scheduled to run from July 2-25, it’s going to be a tight transfer for any riders targeting both the Grand Tour and the Olympic road race or time trial.

The IOC president, Thomas Bach, said: “With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

The Tour de France will start a week early this year -  a measure introduced to accommodate any riders who wanted to race both the Tour and the Olympics, but even with the rearranged dates riders had just under a week to fly to Japan and adjust to the time difference before the road race.

As the Tour finished in Paris on July 19, the Olympic road race then scheduled for July 25 before the Games were postponed.

It is still not clear if the 2020 Tour de France will run.

On March 24, the Olympic committee confirmed that it was necessary to delay the games “to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

The IOC was already facing a backlash from National Olympic Committees and athletes over its delay on making a decision to postpone the Games. Canada and Australian said they would not send any athletes, with France and Britain signalling they would follow suit.

This is the first time the games have been moved in its 124-year history.

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On Monday (March 30), the IOC unveiled the new dates for the games and announced that all qualified and quote places for athletes will remain unchanged.

The date for the Olympic road race and time trials have not yet been announced, but with the overlap it is likely there will only be a few days from the end of the Tour, unless the latter is moved once again.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.