Cycling's three Grand Tours could take place over an arc of just three months depending on when lockdown restrictions are lifted in France, Italy and Spain, with organisers ASO and RCS Sport reported to have reached agreement on how to schedule the races to avoid clashes.
With French President Emmanuel Macron having announced yesterday that no public sporting events can now take place until mid-July at the earliest, it will be impossible for the Tour de France to go ahead on its original dates of 27 June to 19 July.
Last week, it was reported that ASO, owner of the Tour de France and the Vuelta, was working on a contingency plan that would see the French race’s Grand Depart from Nice postponed until 25 July.
> Late July start for Tour de France according to latest reports
However, according to Spanish sports daily Marca, it is now proposed that the race will begin om Sunday 2 August and finish on Tuesday 25 August. The Vuelta would be held in September, while the Giro d’Italia would take place in October.
The director of the Italian Grand Tour, Mauro Vegni, told Marca that under no circumstances were ASO or RCS Sport planning to reduce any of the races from three weeks to two weeks.
Only one of the races, the Vuelta which is due to start in the Netherlands, begins abroad this year, which potentially creates an extra issue for the Spanish race.
The overall aim of the two organisations, however, which are in regular contact with the UCI is to ensure that the Tour de France, the biggest race in the sport, can go ahead, and to have at least one clear week ahead of each of the three races.
A further consideration on that final point is that the calendar will also have to include other races.
The UCI has made it clear that once racing resumes, it wants to prioritise the five Monuments, four of which – Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege – have already been cancelled.
> UCI chief says all five of cycle racing's Monuments could be held in Autumn
Any revised calendar would also have to accommodate the UCI Road Cycling World Championships, scheduled for Aigle-Martigny in Switzerland for 20-27 September, as well as the fifth and final Monument of the year, Il Lombardia, due to take place on Saturday 10 October.
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