Sport and Tour de France not a priority, says French minister as UCI plans for cancelled men’s races revealed
WorldTour racing could return on August 1 with Strade Bianche, unless coronavirus lockdown continues
The Tour de France is not a priority for the government, according to the French 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.
Her words come as a report in Belgian media media has revealed the UCI’s plans for the redesigned WorldTour calendar, starting with Strade Bianche on August 1.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe,Sports minister Maracineanu said: “What is certain is that sport will not be a priority in our society.
“It is not a priority today in decisions made by the government.”
Maracineanu said that the ban on public gatherings could be extended from July until September, adding: " 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. "
The Tour de France is currently scheduled to start in Nice on August 29, after being postponed from its planned start date of June 28.
But announcement that the Tour would run in August and September has been met by scepticism, with many people unsure if the coronavirus crisis will be under control in time.
Despite the concerns, the UCI has released proposed dates for all the major men’s races that have been postponed, including Paris-Roubaix and the Giro d’Italia, reports Belgian broadcaster RTBF.
According to reports about the new calendar, reportedly sent from the UCI to teams, WorldTour racing would recommence on August 1 with Strade Bianche, followed by Milan-San Remo on August 8.
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The Critérium du Dauphiné would be held in the second week of August, while the Giro would be run from October 3-25.
Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Il Lombardi would be run on October 18, 25, and 31 respectively, with the Vuelta a España closing out the season, starting on November 1.
The new men’s WorldTour calendar, according to RTBF:
Strade Bianche – August 1
Milan-San Remo – August 8
Critérium du Dauphiné (four days) – second week of August
National championships – August 22-23
Tour de France - August 29 to September-20
World Championships – September 20 to 27
Flèche Wallonne – September 30
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – October 4
Giro d’Italia – October 3-25
Amstel Gold Race – October 10
Ghent-Wevelgem – October 11
Tour of Flanders – October 18
Paris-Roubaix – October 25
Il Lombardia – October 31
Vuelta a España – From November 1
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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.
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