The rescheduled dates for the 2021 Olympics’ cycling events throw up a potential clash with the Tour de France.
The International Olympic Committee has unveiled the new schedule for the Tokyo Games, with road cycling events taking place in the first week.
After the men’s road race takes place on Saturday July 24, the women’s is on the Sunday, while the time trial events follow on Wednesday July 28.
The 2021 Tour de France is currently scheduled to arrive on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday July 25, meaning riders will have to choose between French Grand Tour or gold medal ambitions, while those hoping to compete against the clock in Tokyo after finishing the Tour will face the near-impossible task of arriving race-ready in less than 72 hours.
The Grand Départ of the 2021 Tour is set to roll out from the Danish capital of Copenhagen on Friday July 2, with race organisers ASO having already asked Copenhagen officials to bring the start forward in order to accommodate the Games, a request that has so far been refused.
This is in part due to the fact Copenhagen is also set to host four games of the similarly rescheduled European Football Championships between June 12-28, creating a number of complications including overstretched hotel capacity.
“Organizing the Grand Départ and Euro 2020 simultaneously means major changes for the route through Copenhagen. It is then no longer possible to pass through important parts of the city centre,” Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen is said to have told Tour director Christian Prudhomme in a letter.
If Mathieu van der Poel had eyed the 2021 edition as his potential Tour de France debut, he may be forced to wait a bit longer. The mountain bike event, which the Dutchman hopes to take gold in, is scheduled for Monday July 26, which logistically would probably require Van der Poel to parachute down from his long-haul flight from Paris straight onto the start line.