Berlin, 15 April 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The Tour de France has been rescheduled for August 29-September 20, to be followed by the Giro d’Italia and then the Spanish Vuelta, the ruling body UCI said on Wednesday.
In a major shake-up of the calendar because of the coronavirus crisis, the UCI also said it intends to hold its world championships in September, and the five main one-day races and other big events as well in a shortened season.
At the same time, it expended the suspension of international races until July 1 and of top-tier WorldTour races until August 1.
The Tour de France had to give up its planned June 27-July 19 slot after French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ruled out any public gatherings in the country until mid-July because of ongoing restirctions in the country.
The Giro and the one-day spring classics were postponed in previous weeks, and there were always question marks whether the Vuelta could start on August 14.
France, Italy and Spain are among the hardest hit countries by the pandemic, with hundreds of thousands of infections and tens of thousands of deaths.
The Tour was given priority in talks between the UCI and the major stakeholders because it is the most iconic event in cycling and also generates the most income.
“Holding this event in the best conditions possible is judged essential given its central place in cycling’s economy and its exposure, in particular for the teams that benefit on this occasion from unparalleled visibility,” the UCI statement said.
If racing is possible again from August 1 the news could mean that a Tour build-up event such as the week-long Dauphine stage race could take place as well.
The UCI said its road world championships in Switzerland would keep their September 20-27 slot and competition schedule despite the overlap with the Tour, starting with a time trial which many Tour riders would have likely also participated in.
The Giro is to follow, and then the Vuelta, the UCI said, with these two grand tours also three weeks long, and the final dates yet to be determined.
The UCI said it aims to publish its full men’s and women’s calendar for the shortened season by May 15, at the latest, which however will “remain dependant on the world health situation.”
“I would like to pay tribute to the representatives of the organisers, teams and riders for their collaboration and their commitment in these difficult times,” UCI president David Lappartient said.
“We still have work to do to finalise the establishment of an entirely revised 2020 UCI International Calendar given the coronavirus pandemic that has shaken the world, but a first very important step has been taken today.”
Lappartient also praised an agreement signed Tuesday between the UCI, teams and riders to help financially struggling teams survive the pandemic.
“This agreement is testimony to the sense of responsibility of cycling’s different players in a period where unity is essential to limiting as far as possible the negative effects of the crisis,” he said.
“We have established a framework that will allow the fundamental rights of teams’ riders and staff to be preserved, while enabling the measures necessary for the survival of these teams to be taken.
“Together, we will manage to get through this crisis and rebuild cycling post-Covid-19.”