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Coronavirus: the Tour de France 2020 to be rescheduled, but when? - from 29 August till 20 September

Added: tuesday 14 April 2020 at 12:41:00
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    Coronavirus: the Tour de France 2020 to be rescheduled, but when? - from 29 August till 20 SeptemberIt was more and more likely over the past few weeks, but after the announcements made by Emmanuel Macron in his speech last night, it has become mandatory to cancel the Tour de France 2020 at its initial dates, which were from Saturday 27 June 2020 till Sunday 19 July 2020.

    Cancelation at these dates, but maybe followed by a rescheduled edition? Let's have a look in detail at the different aspects around rescheduling the event!

    Why should the Tour de France 2020 be rescheduled?

    Several answers to this question!

    First of all because the initial dates won't work anymore. The Tour de France 2020 was planned to have its Grand Départ in Nice on Saturday 27 June 2020, preceded by the usual programme of pre-race operations starting on Wednesday 24 June 2020 with the opening of the Permanence and the press center and with the teams presentation on Place Masséna on Thursday 25 June 2020 (you can check out detailed maps of the stages which form the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2020 in Nice here). (About) 3470 kilometers further, the riders would have crossed the last finish line of the race on the Champs-Elysées in Paris on Sunday 19 July 2020 (check out the presentation of the Tour de France 2020 race route here).

    Would have, because even though Emmanuel Macron has announced a planned end of the lock up period for the 11th of May 2020, but the President of the Republic has, logically, also added the information that "big festivals and events with a big attendance won't be able to take place at least until mid-July". He completed this information explaining that "The situation will be re-evaluated starting mid-May, every week, in order to adapt things and allow you to plan things as early as possible" (the video extract below precisely shows you these announcements):


    As a consequence, if there won't be any event with a big attendance until mid-July 2020, the Tour de France will most definitely not take place during this period.

    I indicated that there were several answers to the question of why the Tour de France 2020 should be rescheduled. Indeed, the survival of professional cycling as a whole is at stake. You might be wondering why. Why is this more the case for the Tour de France than for smaller races? The reason is quite simple. Indeed, the Tour de France is broadcasted on TV in no less than 190 countries around the world on 100 TV channels of which 60 have a live broadcast (the others either broadcast a big part of each stage with a delay due to the time differences and others broadcast a short overview of each stage). In 2018 for example this represented no less than 6,800 broadcasting hours around the world. With this, the Tour is the annual most broadcasted sports event in the world! In total, 500 media of 45 nationalities cover the race with journalists being present in the race.

    This obviously means that the Tour de France offers a unique visibility for the teams (and thus their sponsors) and for the sponsors of the race. Without the Tour de France several team sponsors would stop sponsoring the teams, considering that the return on investment for the millions of euros they put into this sponsoring would not be there. Thanks to the Tour de France they are and this thus allows the sponsoring of at least all the UCI WorldTeams, for which the participation in the Tour is automatic (knowing that a cancelation of the Tour de France 2020 would have severe consequences on the Total Direct Energie, B&B Hotels-Vital Concept and Team Arkéa-Samsic teams as well since these are the 3 teams which should participate based on a wildcard invitation and which have even more fragile budgets).

    As a consequence, without the Tour, several teams would risk to put a hold to their activities and that means the whole professional cycling system would be at stake because the smaller race would thus also see the big teams disappear, which means less attendance of their races and thus less sponsoring for these smaller races as well.

    This got illustrated by the example of the CCC Team which announced on April 4th that it had to cancel the contract of most of its staff and drastically reduce the salary of the riders, simply because the sponsor is no longer able to pay the money it usually pays to the team, because it doesnt't give the visibility and publicity anymore at this time and because the company is in trouble in this economically difficult period as well.


    Finally, there's also the financial question for Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), the organisor of the Tour de France. With the television rights and the sponsorshis around the Grande Boucle, this race indeed pays for most of the other races organised by this company and which could most probably not survive without their big brother Tour de France. This thus means that if there's no Tour, the other races of the same organisor are also at stake, which frightens of quite a lot already when you see the list contains several Monuments of cycling: Tour d'Oman, Saudi Tour, Paris-Nice, Volta Catalunya, Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Tour de Yorkshire, Eschborn Frankfurt, Critérium du Dauphiné, Arctic Race of Norway, Deutschland Tour and Paris-Tours.

    Finally? Maybe not ... there's another foreseeable impact in case the Tour gets cancelled and this concerns the whole French economy. Indeed, the Tour de France is a huge advertisement of French tourism. In the 190 countries where the Tour is broadcasted on TV, quite a lot of spectators watch it not for the race, but to discover or rediscover the beautiful sights France offers and are thus potentially influenced to come visit in the next few years. Since the tourism domain is already in a difficult situation due to the economical crisis which follows the health crisis, the fact there wouldn't be this advertisement could turn out to be disastrous for the French economy.

    Why not organise the Tour de France without public?

    The French Minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, at some time suggested that the Tour de France could take place behind closed doors. This clearly shows she doesn't really know or understand what the Tour de France is because it represents 10 to 12 millions of spectators on the side of the road who spend an average of 7 hours, in groups of 4 to 5 people in average. These spectators come to see the race, but also for the advertising caravan which offers a show of no less than 30 minutes with its 160 vehicles.

    If one could imagine (even though that's not really interesting for the financial reasons mentioned above) organising the stage starts and finishes without any public (even though this would create a big risk of having crowds formed close to these locations, in front of the barriers which would prevent the people from going there), the same number of gendarmes and other police officers as usual for the Tour would not prevent the French from watching the race. They would have to be many many more than usual in order to prevent all people to get out of their houses to see the race come by (one could imagine that the Tour would take place without the advertising caravan in this case, which would also mean a huge financial impact for A.S.O.) or to prevent them from going up the mountains to see the exploits of all the riderss. This idea thus has never really been seriously looked at ...

    Rescheduling of the Tour de France 2020 OK, but when?

    The question you might be thinking about right from the start is of course the one of the possible dates on which the Tour de France 2020 will be organised in the end. It's not really a secret that A.S.O. has been working since about one and a half week at least on a rescheduling with the start in Nice on Saturday 25 July 2020 and a finish in Paris on 16 August 2020. These dates would allow, also with a rescheduling, the Tour of Spain (Vuelta a España, of which the 2020 edition was initally planned from Friday 14 August 2020 till Sunday 6 September 2020) and the Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia, of which the 2020 edition was initially planned from Saturday 9 May 2020 till Sunday 31 May 2020) to take place, respectively in September and October. The Tour of Italy indeed already announced it will be rescheduled, because they didn't manage to organie the race on the initially planned dates, especially also because the race would start in Hungary, while the Tour of Spain would in this case accept to be rescheduled to leave space for the Tour de France (A.S.O. also being the owner of the organisation of the Tour of Spain, this agreement was probably not that difficult to find).

    The big question however is whether these dates are realistic in the light of the calendar which now becomes clear in this health crisis. Indeed, between half-July and the 25th of July there's only 10 days and one could not expect a peloton of riders who participate in the 107th edition of the Grande Boucle to start this race "from scratch", with its 3470 kilometers. This race has to be preceded by other races, to allow the riders to get back in race conditions. And that's even moire true now the riders are locked up as well. The situation is not equal between the different countries, but French riders for exemple currently don't have the righ to train on the road (currently because this situation could change if the government agrees for them to start training again) until the 11th May!

    Usually the main preparation races (which are also used for the teams selections!) before the Tour de France are the Critérium du Dauphiné, also organised by A.S.O., and the Tour of Switzerland, and of course also the National Championships which usually take place one week before the Grande Boucle and which allow to finalise the list of participants for each of the teams.

    Looking at the 2020 UCI cycling calendar in its initial version visible on velowire.com (you have been able to follow the cancellations due to the coronavirus and this calendar will continuously be updated depending on the upcoming movements, cancellations and rescheduling to come), we realise that in this short period of time (considering the same principle will be adopted in other countries as well, which - in terms of dates - is not at all guaranteed at this time) we see that only the Tour de Wallonie which should take place from 18 till 22 July 2020, would be a big race which could allow riders to get ready for the Tour, but this race seems to be too close to the potential new start of the Tour. The Tour de Pologne however would arrive too early because it's planned to take place from 5 till 11 July 2020.

    The ideal situation would thus be to fin new dates which would allow to reschedule the Critérium du Dauphiné and another race* (why not La Route d'Occitanie for example?), at two to three weeks before a new start of the Tour, and maybe even the National Championships, at one week from the start, in order to allow the Tour de France 2020 to take place in good conditions. But, doing some "retro-planning", this would mean that the Critérium du Dauphiné (canceled on its initial dates from Sunday 31 May 2020 till Sunday 7 June 2020 because, with its start on the 31st of May, this is one of the races canceled by the decision of the Union Cycliste Internationale to cancel or reschedule all races which will take place before the end of May) between 28 June and 5 July, another race between 5 and 12 July 2020 for example and the National Championships the weekend of 18/19 July. But all that, except maybe for the National Championships, is not compatible with the date of mid-July earliest for any of these events ... Therefore, either the races which precede the Tour de France will be organised "behind closed doors" (of which the definition in cycling is a bit difficult because the roads are the place where the races take place) or the Tour de France 2020 needs to be rescheduled even later on...

    * the Tour de Suisse (Tour of Switzerland) has indeed decided to ask for a simple cancelation of the race, instead of trying to reschedule, because its organisor thinks it's not possible from a logistical or financial point of view to organise the 2020 editon at a later date

    • UPDATEUPDATE 14 April at 9.32PM: tonigth the Dauphiné Libéré newspaper announced new dates for the Tour de France 2020, mentioning a Grande Boucle which would be organised from 29 August till 20 September 2020. While these dates seemed highly improbable, especially due to the dates of the World Championships (of which the individual time trial is planned on 20 September, which would thus be the same day as the finish of the Tour!) and the fact that it partly covers the initial dates of the Vuelta, I received a confirmation of this information and it should be officially confirmed tomorrow by A.S.O. and by Christian Prudhomme himself, on France Télévisions in the News of 1PM tomorrow! As for the Vuelta, this is thus the same organisation so the Spanish Grand Tour will probably be rescheduled to another date or be canceled in favour of the Tour de France!

      The programme of the Tour de France 2020 would thus be as follows, with the same initial race route:

      Saturday 29 August 2020 1/ Nice > Nice 156 km
      Sunday 30 August 2020 2/ Nice > Nice 187 km
      Monday 31 August 2020 3/ Nice > Sisteron 198 km
      Tuesday 01 September 2020 4/ Sisteron > Orcières-Merlette 157 km
      Wednesday 02 September 2020 5/ Gap > Privas 183 km
      Thursday 03 September 2020 6/ Le Teil > Mont Aigoual 191 km
      Friday 04 September 2020 7/ Millau > Lavaur 168 km
      Saturday 05 September 2020 8/ Cazères-sur-Garonne > Loudenvielle 140 km
      Sunday 06 September 2020 9/ Pau > Laruns 154 km
      Monday 07 September 2020 R1/ Charente-Maritime
      Tuesday 08 September 2020 10/ Île d'Oléron (Château-d'Oléron) > Île de Ré (Saint-Martin-de-Ré) 170 km
      Wednesday 09 September 2020 11/ Châtelaillon-Plage > Poitiers 167 km
      Thursday 10 September 2020 12/ Chauvigny > Sarran 218 km
      Friday 11 September 2020 13/ Châtel-Guyon > Puy Mary 191 km
      Saturday 12 September 2020 14/ Clermont-Ferrand > Lyon 197 km
      Sunday 13 September 2020 15/ Lyon > Grand Colombier 175 km
      Monday 14 September 2020 R2/ Isère
      Tuesday 15 September 2020 16/ La Tour-du-Pin > Villard-de-Lans 164 km
      Wednesday 16 September 2020 17/ Grenoble > Méribel - Col de la Loze 168 km
      Thursday 17 September 2020 18/ Méribel > La Roche-sur-Foron 168 km
      Friday 18 September 2020 19/ Bourg-en-Bresse > Champagnole 160 km
      Saturday 19 September 2020 20/ Lure > La Planche des Belles Filles (ITT) 36 km
      Sunday 20 September 2020 21/ Mantes-la-Jolie > Paris Champs-Elysées 122 km
      distance totale 3470 km


      UPDATEUPDATE 15 April at 1.14PM: it was indeed in the News report at 1PM on France 2 that Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France and of the cycling activity at A.S.O., has confirmed the new dates of the Tour de France 2020, starting in Nice on 29 August 2020 and finishing in Paris on 20 September 2020, with the programme as presented above.

      You can read the official press release about these rescheduled dates on the website letour.fr, in which the organisor adds that the women's event, La Course by le Tour de France avec FDJ, which was initially scheduled to take place on the 19th July on the Champs Elysées, will also be postponed to a date that is still to be determined, but it will take place during the Tour de France 2020 and that the 30th edition of the Etape du Tour cyclosportive, originally schedule to take place on the 5th July, will be postponed to a date yet to be determined.

    And what if the borders stay closed, will there still be some spectators?

    Yes, among the 10 to 12 millions of spectators, the statistics show that 80% among them are French and only 20% among them are from abroad.

    However, A.S.O. will have to take care of the organisation with the French government to allow all riders to participate because the participation is of course not limited to European riders (last year 30 nationalities were represented among the 176 riders of the peloton of the Tour for example) and even though many of them live in Europe during the cycling season, it is not guaranteed that all riders who want to participate in the Tour de France 2020 are currently on European soil.

    All numbers and statistical information in this article are taken from official communications by Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), the organisor of the Tour de France.

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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Comments

Currently 16 comments!
  1. MERCI Thomas
    se posera aussi la question de l etape du tour ?
    regis

    | regis | tuesday 14 April 2020 at 19:09:46

  2. Difficile n'est pas impossible. Mais, est-il possible?

    | Francisco | tuesday 14 April 2020 at 19:21:51

  3. @regis #1 : en effet, L'Etape du Tour - s'il a lieu - serait à reprogrammer également. Tout va dépendre des nouvelles dates du Tour et de l'intérêt d'organiser L'Etape du Tour à cette même période (hors période de vacances, sans participation d'une grande partie des participants étrangers, ...) et de la faisabilité d'un point de vue risque sanitaire.

    ---

    Le Dauphiné Libéré publie ce soir une exclusivité en annonçant le Tour à des dates entre le 29 août et le 20 septembre 2020, alors que Marca était ce matin sûr de ses dates du 2 au 25 août ... je pense réellement que les nouvelles dates ne sont pas connues à ce stade, ne serait-ce que - si on part sur l'hypothèse du Dauphiné Libéré - parce que c'est incompatible avec les Championnats du Monde qui sont prévus du 20 au 27 septembre, avec le contre-la-montre individuel dès le 20 septembre. Donc à moins d'avoir trouvé un accord avec l'UCI pour bouger les Championnats du Monde en moins de 24 heures ...

    | Thomas Vergouwen | tuesday 14 April 2020 at 19:27:00

  4. Quelle année pourrie ! Je viens de lire que le tour partirait seulement le 29 août !!! Catastrophe pour tous ceux qui ne peuvent partir en septembre

    | Boland Jean-Marie | tuesday 14 April 2020 at 19:55:22

  5. @Jean-Marie : attention, rien n'est confirmé à ce stade, voir mon commentaire ci-dessus et l'incompatibilité avec les dates des Championnats du Monde.

    | Thomas Vergouwen | tuesday 14 April 2020 at 19:56:41

  6. Merci Thomas. Croisons les doigts...mon fils et moi on ne peut pas concevoir le fait de rater le tour, on y va chaque année depuis la Belgique. Toutes nos vacances sont basées sur le tour . Ma femme avait même pris deux jours de congés sans solde les 29 et 30 juin...la cata ! Bonne soirée

    | Boland Jean-Marie | tuesday 14 April 2020 at 20:17:18

  7. @Jean-Marie : malheureusement pour vous les informations semblent quand même se confirmer pour ces dates. Je viens de mettre à jour l'article par rapport à l'annonce qui sera faite demain.

    | Thomas Vergouwen | tuesday 14 April 2020 at 21:47:41

  8. @Thomas . Merci du renseignement . Il y aura peu de monde sur les routes du Tour cette année, car hormis les retraités, qui pourra partir en septembre...???!!! Mon fils recommence l'école le 3... Ce sera une course contre la montre mais tant pis, on ira voir le Tour les 31/08, 01/09 et 02/09 puis direction la Belgique directement...on va être "frais" en rentrant... ;-)

    | Boland Jean-Marie | wednesday 15 April 2020 at 9:29:19

  9. MERCI POUR CES BONNES NOUVELLES QUI J ESPERE SERONT CONFIRMER VIVE LE VELO VIVE LE TOUR

    | lucien baele | wednesday 15 April 2020 at 10:47:29

  10. C'est maintenant officiel, le Tour 2020 débutera bien le samedi 29 août.
    Sur leur site, toutes les étapes ont été reprogrammées avec le bon jour.

    | T2D VILLARS | wednesday 15 April 2020 at 13:28:03

  11. @T2D VILLARS : et oui, comme déjà précisé dans l'article, avec la vidéo de l'intervention de Christian Prudhomme dans le JT de 13h de France 2 :-).

    Les étapes ont aussi été reprogrammées avec le bon jour dans le calendrier cycliste UCI sur velowire.com, dès hier soir d'ailleurs !

    | Thomas Vergouwen | wednesday 15 April 2020 at 13:42:00

  12. Bravo Thomas pour toutes ces infos, TOP!! tu es génial et Vive le Tour pour le 29 Aout ça fera du bien à tous de voir cette édition inédite!

    | Sébastien.A | wednesday 15 April 2020 at 19:09:47

  13. Consternant et consterné.
    On ne sait pas encore ce qui sera autorisé après le 13 juillet, mais tous les journalistes et ASO disent que c'est formidable, que le Tour va avoir lieu. Belle intervention de Gérald Holtz sur France 5, en décalage complet.
    Qu'une annulation du Tour soit une catastrophe pour le cyclisme, je veux bien l'entendre.
    Mais jouer le feu pour peut être favoriser une 2° période de confinement, c'est juste irresponsable et inconcevable.
    Espérons que les autorités prendront la bonne décision le temps venu en juillet/août. #stopautour2020

    | fred | wednesday 15 April 2020 at 20:56:29

  14. Bonjour, Nous savons tous en cette période difficile que l'édition du tour de France 2020 a été décalé du 29 août au 20 septembre 2020. Pouvez-vous me dire si il y à des postes à pourvoir pour cette période ?

    | chuecos | wednesday 15 April 2020 at 23:00:15

  15. Bonjour, en cette période difficile nous savons que l'édition du tour de France 2020 a été décalé du 29 août au 20 septembre 2020. Pouvez-vous me dire si il y a des postes à pourvoir pour cette période ?

    | baptista | saturday 18 April 2020 at 12:34:46

  16. @baptista #15 : Je vous invite à consulter l'article Vous aimeriez travailler dans la caravane publicitaire du Tour de France, c'est maintenant qu'il faut postuler, sur lequel j'ai répondu à la demande de @chuecos #14 car il y avait posé la même question.

    | Thomas Vergouwen | saturday 18 April 2020 at 19:01:40

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