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Christian Prudhomme Is ‘Reasonably Optimistic’ About the 2021 Racing Calendar

By Monica Buck

The Tour de France director believes that the bulk of the cycling calendar will go ahead despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were already some cancellations and postponement attempts. However, the UCI has insisted that no formal changes to the calendar will be confirmed until March. The reality is not easy going and Prudhomme admitted the race organizers will have to adapt to the current restrictions.“For example, for Paris-Nice, we’ll have to make sure that the riders have access to labs that are capable of carrying out rapid tests so that they can travel home,” Prudhomme told RTBF.

2020 Tour de France
Until March, there will be no official cancellations or changes to the calendar. © Profimedia

However, all things considered, the director of the Tour and president of the AIOCC – the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers – is optimistic.

“In all the meetings that we have with local authorities, we always highlight the specific nature of professional sport, which allows competition to go ahead, obviously with adapted measures. I’m, therefore, reasonably optimistic even if I thought a few months ago that we would be able to start 2021 calmly… That hasn’t been the case but, until proven otherwise, that won’t prevent us from holding the races while respecting what the authorities ask of us.”

That goes for the Tour de France as well. The biggest cycling race in the world returns to its summer date in 2021 after last year’s postponement to autumn. It is scheduled to take place from June 26 to July 18. It is yet to be decided whether spectators will be allowed to watch from the roadsides.

“I hope we’ll have people on the roadside even if I don’t know today. I hope that we will have a normal life again and that the beginning of summer will be like a kind of liberation. What we hope is that the festive atmosphere, which is essential for cycling in general and the Tour de France in particular, can be as beautiful as it was in the recent past.”