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Amid reports that French government officials are mulling the possibility of a Tour de France run without spectators or a caravan due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tour director Christian Prudhomme told Sports Auvergne on Wednesday evening that the Tour de France “will not take place behind closed doors.”
The ASO, which runs the Tour and numerous other major events on the international cycling calendar, has yet to make a firm decision on the status of this year’s Tour. The first Grand Tour of the year, the Giro d’Italia, has already been postponed along with countless other races, and on Wednesday the UCI extended a sport-wide suspension on racing until June 1.
Although the chances of a Tour running as scheduled seem increasingly less likely by the day, the ASO is considering its options and looking into rescheduling while, for the moment, holding on to its initially planned dates of June 27 to July 19.
“Naturally, this will depend on the evolution of the pandemic. In ‘Tour de France,’ the most important thing is ‘France.’ It is the health situation in the country that counts,” Prudhomme said. “I only wish one thing is that the Tour de France will take place this summer. Not for the Tour de France but if it does not take place, it would mean that the country is in a catastrophic situation.”
According to Prudhomme, whatever happens, a Tour behind proverbially closed doors is off the table.
“The Tour de France is fervor, it’s enthusiasm, it’s smiles above all,” Prudhomme said. “We must find these smiles.”
The ASO is reportedly planning to make a decision on how to proceed by May 15.