More doubt over Tour de France 2020 as French government extends sports ban

The French Prime Minister announced no sporting events can take place until at least September

Tour de France 2019 Grand Départ in Brussels, Belgium (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The doubts over the 2020 Tour de France continue as the French government has announced it is extending the ban on sporting events.

On Tuesday (April 28), French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed that major sporting events would be postponed until at least September.

While the PM made no specific mention of the Tour de France, the three week race is likely to be impacted as it is due to start in Nice on August 29.

Philippe said: "The 2019-20 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume.

"It will be possible, on sunny days, to practice an individual sporting activity outdoors, obviously respecting the rules of social distancing.

"It will not be possible, neither to practice sport in covered places, nor team or contact sports."

The Tour has already been postponed from its planned start date in June because of the coronavirus crisis, but there have been concerns about the safety of holding the event later this year.

France’s top-tier football leagues will be forced to abandon the remainder of the season because of the ban, after football was suspended indefinitely on March 13.

Earlier this month, France’s sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who previously suggested the French Grand Tour could be held without the millions of spectators, said public health takes priority over sport and that the Tour could be abandoned in 2020.

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She said: “If [the Tour and other sporting events are] not possible, it will not be the end of the world,

“It will undoubtedly be the end of many things that were supported by the revenues from these tournaments and the Tour de France. We will have to reinvent ourselves if a year is missed.

Maracineanu said the Tour de France is not a priority for the government.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. 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.