"Certain conditions must be met" - French Sports Minister on Le Tour

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French Minister for Sport Roxana Maracineanu has dampened enthusiasm surrounding this year's rearranged Tour de France.

The grand tour is due to begin on the new date of August 29, finishing on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on September 20.

However, the announcement on Tuesday by French prime minister Edouard Philippe that all major sporting events are banned until September 1 has cast some doubt on Le Tour.

Football's Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 have been ended by Philippe's proclamation, while rugby's Top 14 is set to follow.

Cyclists will be able to begin individual training in France from May 11.

"In order for the Tour to take place, certain conditions must be met," Maracineanu told FranceInfo on Wednesday evening.

"I believe that the news announced on Tuesday [allowing individuals train again on May 11], delighted the cyclists, who were waiting to be able to get off their home trainers, take a real bike and go farther than a kilometre around their home", Maracineanu said.

Regarding the Tour de France, the Sports Minister added, "A certain number of qualifying competitions must be able to take place, probably in August since in July this will not be possible.

"They must be able to ride in a peloton by then. This is not the case at the moment.

"Social distancing measures imposed on the rest of society also applies to cyclists.

"There are all these uncertainties to be lifted, which are due to the progression of the pandemic in society.

"It is too early to say. The current doctrine does not impose its postponement, its cancellation or its holding."

Speaking earlier this month, Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme hopes that the postponed Critérium du Dauphiné can be held in August as a warm-up for the Tour, even if it's in a shorter format, "maybe five or six days instead of eight".

Some teams have warned that they could cease to exist if this year's Tour de France does not go ahead.

It's a warning Maracineanu has considered, "We all keep hope. I am aware that it is essential for the survival of many professional teams, for the continuation of the careers of many of our champions.

"We will do all the necessary work so that it can go in this direction , but it is the evolution of the pandemic that will decide it. It is up to us to remain exemplary."

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