Tour de France could still be held in August but with restrictions in place, says French sports ministry

The government’s announcement this week threw fresh doubt over the fate of the Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Tour de France could still go ahead as planned in August, according to the French sports ministry, but restrictions would need to be put in place.

On Tuesday (April 28), the French government announced it was extending its ban on sporting events until September, throwing the three-week race into doubt as it is scheduled to start in late August.

Making the announcement, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe made no mention of the Tour de France, but the Ministry of Sport has since issued an update on how the sporting ban could affect the race.

A spokesperson for the ministry told Eurosport (opens in new tab): “It is too early to say [the impact on the Tour] but for now this does not imply a postponement nor a cancellation, but it does not rule out arrangements notably in terms of number of spectators.”

The Tour de France was initially scheduled to start in Nice at the end of June, but the global coronavirus crisis forced the organisers to postpone the event until late summer, with the race now expected to follow the same route from August 29.

But there are still some who feel August is too soon to hold the event, with concerns around public health.

The French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu previously suggest the Tour could go ahead without the millions of fans lining the streets, but this was later shot down by race director Christian Prudhomme.

On Wednesday morning, the organisers of the Vuelta a España announced that the first three stages of the race, set to be held in the Netherlands, had been cancelled as the race was officially postponed.

Vuelta bosses said it would be impossible to reorganise the three stages for later in the year, as the Vuelta has been delayed from its mid-August start day, instead to be run after the World Championships.

>>> Belgian pros forced to cancel ‘inappropriate’ time trial 

The UCI has not yet confirmed the official dates for the Vuelta and other cancelled races, but an announcement is expected soon.

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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 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.