Secrecy and suspense over Tour de France’s fate

PARIS (AFP) – Less than three months before the Tour de France’s scheduled start, the possibility of cycling’s greatest show taking place remains shrouded in doubt, while the organisers have thrown up a wall of silence.

The highlight of the French sporting calendar is due to embark from Nice on June 27 and end on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 19.

But with France entering its third week of coronavirus lockdown and more than 3,000 deaths in the country, organisers ASO are refusing to comment on their plans, other than to say they will act in the best interests of the general public.

“There will be a huge hunger for sports when this is over,” ASO chief Christian Prudhomme said in early March.

“The Tour represents around 60 per cent of earnings in a season,” French team AG2R boss Vincent Lavenu said.

The 2018 champion Geraint Thomas agrees, telling the Daily Telegraph this week he feared for people’s jobs if the Tour was cancelled.

“When you look back through the history books in 20 years’ time, if in 2020 there was no Tour, that doesn’t matter.

“But, on the other hand, there are 20-odd teams, and companies invested in those teams, and if it went, there would be quite a few people left unemployed.”