THE 2020 Tour de France is in jeopardy after the area which hosts the start of the race, Alpes-Maritimes, was placed under a red alert due to the coronavirus.
Due to start on Saturday, after the organisers previously postponed the race in June due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tour de France may once again be postponed or even cancelled.
In its 107th season, the race, which is one of cycling’s three Grand Tours, sees top cyclists from all over the globe compete in 21 day-long segments, over a 23-day period, covering a staggering 2,200 miles.
However, tensions are high due to the current global situation and the tour has not been immune to its effects. On Thursday, two of the cycling teams’ support staff were removed from Nice after testing ‘non-negative’ for Covid-19.
In a statement from the Tour director, Christian Prudhomme, he said, “Safety remains priority number one.”
French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, tried to alleviate concerns stating, “We have taken numerous precautions and health protocols and I’d remind you that this is an open-air event.
“The places where the virus spreads and there is transmission have no organisation. The Tour has an organiser,” he added.
However, despite reassurances by Prudhomme and Castex, there still remains mounting tensions and concerns about the appropriateness of allowing the race to go ahead in the current climate.
Both Stage One and Stage Two of the race start and finish in Nice on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Nice is one of 19 French areas to have recently been put on Red Alert for coronavirus transmissions.
It has been repeatedly suggested that, should the tour go ahead, it should be without spectators and treated as a ‘behind closed doors’ event. However, race promoter ASO has clearly stipulated that it goes ahead as normal or not at all.
Nice city mayor echoed concerns and expressed the need for extreme caution. He said, “We want zero mistakes by Monday [when the race leaves Nice]. We want to show people around the world that we are beyond reproach.”
As it stands, there is increasing scepticism and concern surrounding the event, even from the participants.
Whether the race goes ahead or not will remain to be seen, however it is clear that the coronavirus pandemic is going to continue to affect our beloved sporting events for some time to come.