The sports calendar continues to be turned upside down due to the coronavirus epidemic. While the Tour de France was due to start in Copenhagen in 2021, this will ultimately not be the case. This symbolic event has been postponed for a year to avoid an overlap of sporting events disrupted by the Covid-19, the mayor of the Danish capital announced on Monday.
“I am happy that we were able to secure a Danish start to the Tour in 2022,” Frank Jensen said in a statement noting an agreement with race organizer ASO after several weeks of discussions. This postponement will avoid an overlap next year with the Tokyo Olympics, postponed for a year because of the pandemic, and the Football Euro of which Copenhagen is one of the host cities.
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The calendar puzzle
“Many of us are delighted to have the Tour de France in Denmark next year and unfortunately we must now wait a little longer”, underlined Frank Jensen. “In return, the Danes can rejoice in view of an even bigger yellow popular festival in 2022, when the start of the Tour will not be stuck between the Euro and the Olympics and that we will, I hope, removed the (risk of) coronavirus, ”he added.
The situation had become inextricable when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced last month the maintenance of the Olympic cycling program. With the road race set for July 24, 2021, which would have corresponded to the day before the arrival of the Tour in Paris, the best riders in the peloton should have chosen! Last week, the UCI, anxious to avoid an overlap, therefore brought the Tour dates forward by one week when it was published on the WorldTour calendar. And, therefore, made it impossible to leave Denmark, the most northerly in the history of the Great Loop.
A departure from Brittany?
According to Danish organizers, the postponement has a cost of 5.8 million Danish crowns (780,000 euros) which will be covered by the Danish State and ASO (organizer of the Tour). Additional expenses will be borne by the start and finish cities since the Tour will have three days of racing in Denmark. But on the horizon of two years.
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After setting off from Copenhagen on 1is July, the Tour 2022 will remain on Danish soil for two more stages contested during the following two days. As for the 2021 edition, an alternative for the place of departure could be Brittany, whose candidacy is holding the rope, according to the daily The Telegram. No confirmation came from ASO. But the Regional Council, prime contractor for the operation, and the organizing company are in close contact. It remains to finalize the working hypothesis so that the Tour returns to Brittany, away from the route this year as in 2019. The last big departure from the region, labeled “eldest daughter of cycling” because of its popularity of this sport in Armorica, dates back to 2008 (Brest).