Late Tour de France start stil...


Late Tour de France start still "recipe for disaster" says top scientist

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The delayed start date for this year's Tour de France could result in another lockdown according to a prominent scientist. 

The race was due to get underway on June 27 but has been put back to an August 29 Grand Depart from Nice, finishing in Paris on September 20.

However, Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh says the August start could still prove to be a "recipe for disaster".

Sridhar is an adviser to the Scottish government on the coronavirus pandemic, and has told CyclingNews that Le Tour could have tragic consequences.

Race director Christian Prudhomme said they'd discussed earlier possible starts in August, but all were dismissed due to a lack of preparation time for the riders.

"The wise thing to do is cancel for this year", Sridhar explained.

"[The Tour promoters] have to weigh the risks against the benefits.

"Thousands of people from all over the world, gathered together, moving around, from town to town, this is where a virus could thrive - it could be a recipe for disaster," Sridhar said.

"There's definitely a risk that the Tour de France moving around and unwittingly spreading the virus could kick start a new lockdown."

Prudhomme claimed they could manage crowd numbers while maintaining 99 per cent of the route, "We will follow recommendations, just like we did for Paris-Nice in March.

"At the start, gatherings of more than 5,000 were banned and after a couple of days we had to adapt because the maximum was 1,000."

But Sridhar warned, "This (the arrival of the Tour's international convoy) could set off a new cluster of infections so you'd have to think, at minimum, of a two to three-week quarantine before they properly come into the country."

She claims testing everyone involved in the race would be unfeasible and astronomically expensive.

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