Paris-Roubaix is unlikely to go ahead next month due to the coronavirus situation in the region, the prefect of the Hauts-de-France region has said.
Sixteen departments in France went back into lockdown at the weekend for at least a month as cases rise once more, jeopardising the chances of the one-day race taking place on April 11. Lockdown restrictions will include non-essential shops being closed as well as residents having to stay within 10 kilometres of their homes.
“I’ll give you an answer when the time is right, but right now you can guess,” Michel Lalande told France Bleu Nord radio station. “The sky now looks less blue,” he added of his optimism over whether the race will go ahead, saying he doesn’t understand why races just over the border in Belgium are still taking place during the public health crisis.
Hospitals are currently overwhelmed in the Hauts-de-France department, ICU beds having an occupancy rate of nearly 120 per cent.
This will likely be the second year Paris-Roubaix doesn’t take place in its usual spring slot after the 2020 edition was postponed at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, pushed back to October, while a subsequent wave of cases in the winter saw the race scrapped entirely for the year.
With vaccination programmes now underway, another postponement until October would likely see the cobbled Classic take place this year.
Another ASO race, Paris-Nice, was able to take place recently despite the difficult coronavirus situation in France. This was, however, due to the fact the eight-day event was able to re-jig its route and avoid the coronavirus red zone of Nice on the final two days, whereas Paris-Roubaix would take place entirely within one of the 16 departments under lockdown.
When approached, ASO said they would not be making a comment at this time.