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

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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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