April 14 (UPI) — Tour de France organizers are seeking new dates for the annual cycling competition after French President Emmanuel Macron canceled all public events with large crowds until mid-July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Macron made the announcement Monday. The Tour de France only has been canceled for World War I and World War II, with the last cancellation in 1946.
The 2020 Tour de France was initially scheduled to begin June 27 in Nice and end July 19 in Paris.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme told reporters on April 1 that the event would not be held without fans. Prudhomme also said organizers were considering other dates for the event at the time, and organizers set a May 15 deadline to decide if and when the race occur.
Prudhomme had said cyclists need two months after the lockdown to prepare for the event. That two-month window is no longer possible due to Macron’s extension on a strict lockdown in France until May 11.
The 2020 Tour de France includes 21 starting and finish lines and a 2,000-mile route throughout France. The roadside course typically draws millions of fans. More than 175 cyclists compete.
Colombia’s Egan Bernal won the 2019 Tour de France.