Tour de France set for August...


Tour de France set for August finish due to COVID-19

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This year's Tour de France could start a month behind schedule as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Le Parisien claim that the mayors of towns where stages finish have been approached by race organisers ASO about the possibility of moving Le Tour to a July 25 start date in Nice, culminating in Paris on August 16.

The death toll from coronavirus in France has exceeded 10,000 but there appears a determination that this year's Tour go ahead somewhat as planned.

Le Tour is due to take place from June 27 to June 19, but those dates appear more than optimistic given the current circumstances.

The Giro D'Italia's already been postponed, while the Critérium du Dauphiné has also bitten the dust for 2020.

There's been talk of a shortened Tour de France, one being raced behind closed doors, and even an amalgamation of Le Tour, the Giro and La Vuelta.

Last week, race director Christian Prudhomme categorically ruled out the 'behind closed doors' concept as it would eliminate all tourism and economic benefits from the race.

Local authorities appear open to a later start for the race this year.

Privas in south-eastern France is due to host the finish of stage-5, with their mayor Michel Villa quoted by Spanish news agency Efe as saying, "It is not a problem for us to delay a month if the health context is favourable by then.

"We can maintain the planned logistics."

Villa added, "Better to host the Tour de France in August than not to host it or do it without an audience."

The participating teams have also been approached about a later start, and none are believed to be objecting.

A final decision from race organisers ASO is not due to be made on how to progress until May 15.

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