Watched on television by millions across the world, the annual race is deeply embedded in French culture as it weaves its way across stunning countryside and vertiginous mountains, as well as through picturesque towns and cities before concluding on Paris’ Champs-Elysées.
The Tour is normally held during July, but the global pandemic put paid to that idea, hence the August 29 start. The pandemic and a recent spike in new infections in France has also left organizers with a real logistical challenge in how best to stage the 23-day race.
Adding to organizers’ worries, the Alpes-Maritimes region — the site of the opening stages of the race — has been declared a red zone because of a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.
In red zones, the authorities are able to make masks compulsory outdoors. But with the French government ready for worst-case scenarios with plans for local or national lockdown in place, questions are being asked as to whether the Tour will even reach Paris.
The Tour de France will not stop if there’s a positive case, even if nobody knows whether it will be completed or not,” International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient told Reuters.
Teams will be expelled from the 2020 event if two riders or members of staff show strong symptoms or test positive for Covid-19.
Source : CNN