The Tour de France has been postponed by two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, world governing body the UCI has announced.
The 107th edition of the race was due to begin in Nice on June 27 and conclude in Paris on July 19, but the UCI on Wednesday issued new dates, with the opening stage on August 29 and the finale on September 20.
Postponement of the race became inevitable on Monday when French President Emmanuel Macron announced there could be no mass gatherings in the country until mid-July.
The fate of the Tour was seen as critical for the economics of cycling given team’s reliance on sponsorship, which is in turn reliant on the exposure brought by the world’s biggest race.
The UCI statement said: “Holding this event in the best conditions possible is judged essential given its central place in cycling’s economy and its exposure, in particular for the teams that benefit on this occasion from unparalleled visibility.”
The new dates for the Tour came as part of a wider plan for the road cycling season announced by the UCI.
The suspension of all racing was extended until July 1, and until August 1 for the WorldTour events, which have been on hiatus since Paris-Nice ended one day early on March 14.